Iskandar Dance Company

Alessandro Bascioni

Italian born Alessandro Bascioni, international dancer/choreographer, did his early training in African Dance and North African Dance. He studied Hilal Dance from 1997 in the Hilal Dance School and graduated from the Hilal Art Foundation in 2000. Thereafter, he moved to London where his artistic journey began; he joined the Suraya Hilal Dance Company (2001), and toured with the programme "Al Janub" (2002/03).

In 2003, he had his first collaboration with Suraya Hilal in the creation of the programme "Aseel", and toured successfully 2003/04.
This was an important experience which has given Alessandro an impact for his future work.

Also with the work in Aseel, he formed a special artistic bond with the well known percussionist, Ibrahim el Minyawi, which has enriched his work ever since, especially in el Saqiyeh.

What the critics wrote:

"In Aseel, a duo performed by Hilal and Alessandro el Bascioni … the pair created what might perhaps be called harmony at a distance. The contact between the two remained limited to the eyes throughout, their bodies never touching. But the movements of the woman mirrored those of the man and vice versa, an unaffected, joyful cooperation evolved, no game of contradictions pressing for resolution". Westdeutsche Zeitung 28.02.05

Throughout this period, his research, creations and artistic influence have significantly extended the Hilal Dance language in exciting multi-dimensional ways.

In 2005, he set up his own Iskandar Dance Company and premiered the production of El Saqiyeh (The waterwheel) in Tanzhaus nrw, in March 2006.

The creation of El Saqiyeh, a piece for three dancers and the percussionist, Ibrahim el Minyawi has been a milestone for Alessandro’s artistic career. He had launched his dance company, touring it internationally and received critical acclaim as a choreographer and artistic director. In El Saqiyeh, The Waterwheel, Alessandro’s choreography takes the Sha’abi form to a new level by showing sophistication of line, geometry, and emotional depth.

The critics wrote:

Alessandro Bascioni in El Saqiyeh... "A compelling performance"
Westdeusche Zeitung, March 06
"It was the sense of freedom which ran through Iskandar Dance Company's beautiful El Saqiyeh... Three dancer breezes onto the stage, dancing in unison, encircling one another, weaving in and out. The quality of the dancing is like no other… giving a wonderful sense of harmony between costume, dance and music."
Ballet Magazine 2006 Ian Palmer

Another achievement for Alessandro Bascioni and his Company was to showcase the work for a two-week season at the Edinburgh Festival in 2006 where he was supported by the Scottish Art Council through Dance Base.

The Critic wrote:

"There is a meditative subtlety in what the choreographer Alessandro el Bascioni and his dancers achieve, -"El Saqiyeh is like an oasis of restorative calm."
The Herald Edinburgh Festival 2006 Marion Brennan

In 2007, Alessandro presented the work at London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre in a sell out performance of El Saqiyeh; another important achievement for the Company.

The critics wrote...

[Iskandar Dance Co.] "...Alessandro Bascioni the enigmatic lead dancer shows through his choreography an appreciation of the dimension of his stage and produces dances which although they repeat are rarely repetitive. A well hour spent at Sadler's Wells." Dancing Time Magazine 2007 Gerald Dowler
"A Spiritual dance piece…" The Evening Standard 2007

Awakening, a piece created in 2008 set to classical Arab music, is a work that examines the awareness of the emotions in movement mirroring Alessandro’s chorographic journey. Premiered at The Drum Theatre, Birmingham.

The critic wrote:

[Iskandar Dance Co.] "The unique qualities of this dance is impressive…they perform as one living breathing unit." The Metro 2008 K.Watson

Also, in a special section of Awakening, he collaborates with the composer/musician and Oud player Joseph Tawadros in a solo, using pure improvisation. This piece toured at:

  • The Drum Theatre, Birmingham 2008
  • Kulture-Zentrum, Karlsruhe 2008
  • Rothebϋl Theatre, Stuttgart 2008
  • Tanzhaus nrw, Dusseldorf 2009

Thekrayat (Memories) created in 2008, as a solo piece for the Suraya Hilal production of El Mizan. The piece, Thekrayat brings to life with refinement and flair, the Arab courtly era exemplified by the sophisticated art of the 18th- century Oriental music with by the live music of a classical ensemble.

2008, also brought collaboration with the Suraya Hilal and Iskandar Companies where they performed a double bill at Tobacco Factory Theatre. It was a great opportunity to show their distinctive and complimentary styles of creation but also to highlight how the modern and traditional merge in Hilal Dance.

The critics wrote:

"In a double bill shared with long time collaborator Alessandro Bascioni, S. Hilal draws on the rich musical heritages of Egypt. Hilal’s piece Oscillations, uses her powers as a performer to interpret the sound of the Oud, and Bascioni’s El Saqiyeh is driven by the rhythm of percussion in a group piece for his own Iskandar dance Co. What unites them is a drive to find new ways of keeping old traditions alive."
The Metro 2008 Keith Watson at Tobacco Factory Theatre

In the recent work called Becoming, which as been showcased at Tanzhaus nrw, in 2009, Alessandro uses new experimental theatrical methods that progress the form further into contemporary dance and theatre.

Teaching

Alongside his theatre productions, Alessandro has given time and space for the importance of teaching which has always informed his artistic clarity and development. His research through pedagogy has also helped to further the definition of the movement language and concepts of Hilal Dance as a whole.

Alessandro is in demand as a teacher due his strong and clear communication, involving the students in a joyful learning experience. In 2007, he reached the Mastery level within the Hilal Dance School.

He has taught internationally throughout the major cities of Europe and in Australia,

Among the Schools he has taught in, are:

  • The Place, London
  • Oxford House, London
  • Winchester Project, London
  • Islington Art Factory, London
  • Tanzhaus nrw, Dusseldorf
  • Micadances, Paris
  • Dance Base, (Scotland’s National Centre for Dance)
  • Accademie de Wallonie, Belgium
  • College of the University of Western Sydney Dance School, Australia
  • Wesley Institute Sydney, Australia

Alessandro, in addition to his own work, continues to collaborate with Suraya Hilal in some productions and in all the projects of the Hilal Dance School.