International Performing Arts Festival

Archive / 2022

Wooshing Machine

Closing party (arrivederci e grazie)

After “Happy Hour” and “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido”, Alessandro Bernardeschi and Mauro Paccagnella conclude their Memory Trilogy with “Closing Party (arrivederci e grazie)”.

This party with no glitter, which is both absurd and ironic, gives us an opportunity to ponder and glimpse the last gasps of the great utopias of history. The final part of a delightful triptych depicting the ups-and-downs of middle age, “Closing Party (arrivederci e grazie)” recasts completion and exhaustion as potential new beginnings; where intimate recollections and collective memory intertwine to become one.

Alessandro and Mauro imprint their gestures and tease out their pathways, from Marianne Faithfull to Béjart’s Bolero, from the Italian Years of Lead (Anni di Piombo) to Pier Paolo Pasolini, and from feathers to wigs. Not forgetting tutus.

However, all of this would be in vain were it not for the delicate beauty of their ageing dance bodies, reinforcing the political character of the piece, where age is no longer just the metaphorical background, but in fact the core of the choreographic phrase. A dance for two, a farewell waltz, both ironic and zany, a closing ball that is at once serious and light-hearted, whose scenic score is based on a troubling double game.


These wonderful dancers, who cultivate rigor with a dollop of nonchalance, and who showcase their mastery of experience freed from the ban on performance, are also clowns and storytellers, disillusioned, heartbreaking, ageing narrators – since this is also their topic – and are divinely funny, poking fun at a world that never tires of swallowing our ideals. [Marie Baudet, La Libre, Belgian daily newspaper, 28 November 2021]

The composition blends the zany with the sensitive with great effectiveness: it grabs you by the guts. [Charles A. Catherine, Ballroom Online, January 2021]

Established in 1998 in Brussels, the company Wooshing Machine is a place of invention, where multiple creative territories overlap. Made up of a collective of artists centered around choreographer Mauro Paccagnella, Wooshing Machine is to be found where borders are sketched out; at the exact point where diverse, heterogeneous artistic realities can intersect and communicate.

A laboratory of experimentation, in both theatrical and performing arts, borrowing from theatre, visual arts, and musical composition, the company’s work reinvents the grammar of choreography and theatre in which dance and the danced gesture are part of a practice that is at once hybrid and daring.

This additional event of “ConTempo” festival  is a part of “Trilogy. Act 3: The Contract” – the official closing program of “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022”.

Belgium / Italy
Recommended age: 16+
Note: Performance in English
  • Concept and direction
    Alessandro Bernardeschi in collaboration with Mauro Paccagnella
  • Performers
    Alessandro Bernardeschi and Carlotta Sagna
  • Featuring
    Ares D’Angelo
  • Lighting
    Simon Stenmans
  • Stage Management
    Simon Stenmans or David Alonso Morillo
  • Video
    Stéphane Broc
  • Sound
    Eric Ronsse
  • Musical Direction
    Alessandro Bernardeschi with Simon & Garfunkel, the Red Army Choir, an excerpt from Salò, or the 120 days of Sodom, Nilla Pizzi, Ravel, Sylvester, Lucio Battisti, Anna Magnani, Nina Simone, Marianne Faithfull, Edvard Grieg, Umberto Bindi, Paul Simon
  • Production
    Wooshing Machine
  • Coproduction
    Les Brigittines, Charleroi danse – Centre Chorégraphique de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles
  • With the support of
    the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the French-speaking Community, Wallonia-Brussels-Theater-Dance WBTD and Wallonia-Brussels-International WBI
  • Thanks to
    Lisa Gunstone, Fabienne Damiean