Arci Tavola Tonda - NINFE DI SICILIA
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SACRED FEMININE IN SICILY. WATER NYMPHS

At the origins of the Western theatrical tradition lies the Greek choir, a ‘collective figure’ that in honor of Dionysus, god of intoxication, moves, dances, sings in unison.
The chorus of the tragedy of the classical period was made up of only men, yet it was born on the archetype of the choruses of Nymphs and Muses, from which also the initiatory choirs of adolescents and young women of the Greek archaic world derive. Next to the Greek theaters of Syracuse, Segesta, Taormina, we find sanctuaries dedicated to the Nymphs, with offers from actors, choreuts and the public who went to attend the sacred performances. Before men appropriated themselves exclusively to the ritual place in which the stories of the community were told, women were the original percussionists, dancers, singers, storytellers.
Dance, percussion, voice and relationship are still today inextricably linked in the dance world of southern Italy (ancient Magna Grecia) and Sicily. In an unbroken line documented at least from the sixth century. to C. the same women who played the drums were pragmatic herbalists and curators, obstetricians and women of medicine with a strong spirituality - pagan and then Christian - which intertwined the efficacy of herbs with the psychological-emotional one of prayers and songs, to the physical-perceptive one of music and dance.
So it was also in Sicily: the most ancient archaeological attestations concerning dance and music are linked to the ritual world of the goddesses, their priestesses and offerers. And, until the last century, in Sicily the frame drum was a purely female ritual instrument.

Nymphs and Satyrs, gods, priests and shamans, actors and actors, storytellers of fairy tales and myths. Anyone who today wants to study theater, singing, percussion, dance, it is to these roots that he must look, to a world in which what is separated today in different disciplines was born woven together.
Reconnecting to these roots, we inaugurate the third year of the study course on the Nymphs of Sicily, open to anyone with motivation, commitment and interest with respect to these work themes: the performative technique will be built in a group, along the way.

Research project coordinated by Barbara Crescimanno
© 2019 Arci Tavola Tonda