SMASH #9 - module #4
Maria F. Scaroni
Oct 30 – Nov 10, 2017

The body work I facilitate invites the participants to look and treat the body as material, addressing its organic functions and spiritual potential as well as its cultural implications. The nature of the approach is eclectic and sources from ‘chi’ cultivation techniques such as Qi Gong and Pranayama (breathing techniques), spine and limbs patterns explorations (body connectivity, proprioceptive systems),  hands-on work (experimental body-alchemy teaching from Sara Shelton Mann) and elements of improvisation to transmute through different states. I use journeys and extended duration (either literal trance exercises drawn from dynamic meditation practices or shamanic journeys using visualization and movement) to flirt with the notion of ritual and personal/collective transformation, relying on trance and exertion, boredom and contemplation as tactics. The goal is to come to an understanding or to a state of questioning of the body’s borders, acknowledging it as multiple and idiosyncratic: codified, yet desirous of ecstasy and play, and seeking grounding and tenderness.
This laboratory suits anybody who is interested in the body as a site of knowledge, as a forest of symbols or simply as a phenomenon to be felt, visually, kinesthetically and verbally. A certain stamina is required, but no specific skill, therefore is open to any moving body.


Maria F.Scaroni did not formally train as a dancer. Moving and performing was at first a process of self- discovery and idiotic play in corners of her house, and later a remote fantasy. She started taking dance classes, focusing on jazz dance, and ended up being picked for television, performing both on national TV and for Berlusconi's private channels. Maria quit for political reasons and spent five years with a local company, training in release-based techniques with Manuela Bondavalli, and earning a Masters degree in Modern Literature and Media at the University of Brescia.
Her "euro trash" life begun in 2004 when she met Jess Curtis, with whom she trained, taught and performed, between Berlin and San Francisco until 2011. His company Gravity was dealing with various, very physical body practices, ranging from contact improvisation to acrobatics, via mixed ability contexts and theory. Maria got to know Jess' lineage in San Francisco and understood how, during the '80s and '90, a certain way of thinking around political theater and body politics had emerged. She plugged into this lineage and studied and performed with Sara Shelton Mann, a master, pioneer and visionary, Keith Hennessy - a radical queer activist and charismatic provocateur - and Stephanie Maher, whose active, punk disposition led her to move to Germany and initiate independent spaces and practices, landing in a project, Ponderosa/P.O.R.C.H. where she participates as teacher and collaborating artist. In collaboration with Jess Curtis, Maria co-created 
The Symmetry Project (2007/2011), a mutable performance/ installation/media project based in a symmetrical and homologous movement practice. Highly affected by both dance and meditation, the SP marked Maria's discovery of duration, exhaustion and play with altered states of presence. By breaking away from strictly theatrical settings, addressing intimacy, sexuality, community and perception she met other artists and practices and in 2010 became part of AADK Berlin, an artistic network initiated by Vania Rovisco, Abraham Hurtado and Jochen Arbeit. Working with Vania Rovisco Maria developed another long-term project called The State of Things, in which the body and its materiality are the focal point (in this case, particularly the female body and its regimes of representation). As a performer Maria has been in works by Juli Reinartz, Friederike Plafki, Hanna Hegenscheidt, Wilhelm Groener. 

Since 2011 she creates works with Meg Stuart/ Damaged Goods (the Politics of Ecstasy (2009), Auf den Tisch! (2011), Built To Last (2102), Sketches/Notebook (2013), Until our Hearts Stop (2015(). As well, she is performer in Tino Sehgal's This Variation (Documenta13) and Yet Untitled (Venice Biennale 2013). In 2014 with Frank Willens, created another mutable event called Towards Another Miraculous, based on the art of getting lost, walking and the fragile occurrences of what a space offers. Maria has developed a teaching practice of her own, teaching at festivals, dance - and public schools and universities (i.e. HZT Berlin, Poznan, Ponderosa/ P.O.R.C.H.) Besides dancing, Maria almost always had another job. The most recurrent topics in her conversation are her concerns about Berlin’s gentrification, the exhaustion of the freelance lifestyle, how to fuck with pleasure with our dance lineage, how to reinvent modes of production within the making of art, divination and tarot and narrations or dance as the oracle.



Paul Green
Anders Bigum
Leslie Seiters
Marc Saestaedt
Elisa Duca