Massimiliano Raso intervistato per Hall of Poets

Dear readers,

Today we have with us Massimiliano Raso, artist from Formia - Italy, the Vice-President and Art Director of Pablo Neruda Cultural Association - Italy. He has accumulated several degrees at the department of History of Arts in Naples’ Federico II University, Foreign Languages and Literature at Naples University  L’Orientale; dance hip hop and Jazz at IALS (Entertainment and arts studies centre) in Rome; Digital Journalism and Social Media Marketing in Bari; Caribbean Dance at FITD (Italian Technicians Dance Sport Federation) in Rome; English language at the British Institutes school of Taranto; and a degree on Modern History on the historical aspects of the festivals in Italy. He is also Artistic Director of the “Festival KIBATEK 39” Italy, Global Poetry and ART Festival. Massimiliano Raso also collaborates with the editorial staff of RAI 1 of “Dancing with the stars” editions 9, 10 and “Dancing with the stars 11 on the road.” He has attended various art juries including the “FIESTA”, the “BOLOGNASAL SAFESTIVAL”, the “GD AWARDS”, the “NATIONAL FESTIVAL OF SONG OF THE GIRO D’ORO”, the “ART PHOTO CONTEST”, the reality “WE ARE IN SCENE ON THURSDAY”, the “CANTASHOW” To radio and television programs as an expert and Columnist.


Ciao Massimiliano, e 'un piacere avervi con noi oggi (It is a pleasure to have you with us today)!

How will you define “Dance” and the “Art of dance” 

Dancing is like a magical ART! Personally I cannot imagine a world without the art of moving the body, without being able to dance and express yourself freely with the body and the mind that performs the steps and gestures. Dancing is also a little “how to love”, it is an innate feeling, a feeling of wellbeing that envelops you and gives you oxygen to breathe.

Please share something about your journey as one of the Founding member and art director at Pablo Neruda Cultural Association?  

Pablo Neruda Cultural Association is a “young” Cultural Association in Taranto / Italy, of which I am honored to be part of, both as Artistic Director and Vice President, as well as a person who believes entirely in the power of the culture. I believe that in this historical period we should provide hope, especially to the young generation, to live in a better society, because culture helps to change the world indeed. In addition to some great projects, the cultural association also brought “The Global Poetry Festival” in Taranto / Italy on February 2016, under the name “KIBATEK 39”, where poets/authors from various parts of the globe were awarded. As well, the cultural association awards the excellence of different artists and various forms of art during Neruda Awards on June 2016, for the ones who see culture as an opportunity to walk together and make artistic dreams come true.

It is said that Natyashastra or knowledge of act/dance is considered as one of the highest form of spiritual practice (Sadhna). Do you also feel so? Please share your views about this. 

The Natyasastra of Bharata, presents the dramatic arts, with a detailed theory of the genre performative "Natja" in which dance and music are not just mere ornaments. Interesting it is the fact there is a lot of attention and dedication in putting in place this art form: the text describes four types of acting, from that relating to the movements of the body, speech, costumes and make-up and the highest, relative to the expression of emotions through slight movements of the lips or eyebrows. The dance, also in reference to Natyasastra, is very spiritual choreutic, not only in content but also in the feeling and in being dancers. We must search for the sense of beauty that leads us to the Divine feeling. As a dancer I find myself mirrored a lot in this culture.

Please share your experiences at “Dancing with the stars”. What were the moments that you cherished there? 

I had the pleasure to collaborate at journalistic level, with the editorial stuff of the television program Rai 1, the most important TV channel in Italy. I interviewed many masters in dance, who were paired with the so-called VIP actors, singers, comedians, writing for the newspaper, a leader in print media in Italy, providing critique articles about the art of dancing. In the last edition I interviewed the “queen” of Italian television, Milly Carlucci, the presenter of talent show, a great entertainer and a nice person. As well I interviewed the great dancers such as Samantha Togni or President  of the jury Carolyn Smith, I shall say that all of them were very nice to me. It has been a growth and development experience for me on both levels: personal and artistic.

Tell us about your life and life time experiences?

I am a normal person who loves life with all its contradictions. I like to do sports and have many friends. Especially I try to devote lot of my time to my son Mattia, 5 years old, an exceptional child, he is my life.

You are an expert at history of dances, tell us what according to you is the basic element in the origin of dance forms, that is common to all dances irrespective of countries/states or forms. 

It 'been said that "dance is the mother of all arts" and indeed it is. This form of art, cultural and traditional spread across the world and old as the world itself. The first choral events, however, were very elementary: reproducing the elements of nature, everyday life and rites. The dance is very similar on each place on Earth, of course with some differences according to various belief systems, customs and history of the peoples.

I believe, however, that from the way it is transmitted by means of the moving body, the way of gestures and steps (regardless of its geography) determine a large variety of emotions, nonverbal and many social meanings messages everywhere, in all world cultures.

Do you believe that love influences all forms of art? 

I believe that without love you cannot even dance. It is important to put strong passion in these body movements. The ones who think can dance in a detached manner, with no emotions they are not on the right “path” as they do not perform the right “content” of dance.

Who would you give credit of your success?
I shall thank my parents for giving me this passion, this creativity, this versatile aspect of performing art. And of course friends and experts in the dance show field for giving me trust and confidence that I am able to do so.
You have judged so many dance and art festivals and shows. As a jury on what unique criteria do you select the acts of the participants? 

It is not easy to give critical judgments. It all depends  on which manifestation of art or entertainment you shall judge. Moreover, the art criticism is the subject of the academic study and it should be held by a person who is well-trained to provide such a professional feedback.

With increased incorporation of gymnastics into dance acts now-a-days, do you feel the essence of dance is somehow lost? Or has it improved? 

Actually the historical, cultural and folkloric essence has been lost little. Especially in the twentieth century it has been given too much attention to the competitive side of the dance, creating too many difficulties for the dancers themselves, a time when many dances were “born”. It should be kept separate and distinct these two sides of the dance, one is sport the other one is art.

What advice would you give to our readers who wish to persue Dance and ART as their career? 

You need passion, strength and courage in life! You shall never give up, even in front of your personal adversities. If you really think you can pursue a goal that is not venal, as in the case of the dance, then you have to go all out and get going without getting tired.

I have been a student of dance for about 12 yrs.There are some controlled aspects of a dance, while some are uncontrolled. As dance originated, it represented cultures, beliefs, festivals, mythological stories, love, and even destruction (Tandava). In the world of poetry and music, how important do you feel is the dance today?

I noticed that dancing is like poetry, each movement represents a “word”. I believe there is a strong intimate connection between poetry and dance itself. I would even dare to say that you cannot separate these two art forms. The body movements, winding steps, the gesture of a hand, if they cannot be counted among the verses of a romantic poem, then they are irrelevant.

What is KIBATEK all about? Please share your experiences from KIBATEK 39.  

The KIBATEK is a Turkish Literary Foundation, founded in 1998 in Turkey/Izmir with the participation of 12 countries. KIBATEK carried out international activities/festivals in 41 countries in the past 18 years, through literary communication and cooperation. KIBATEK proposed in 2015 to Pablo Neruda Cultural Association to organize its first edition in Italy, the 39th in the world, of Global Poetry and ART Festival, in Taranto (Italy). We brought 22 poets from every corner of the globe. During gala day, all the awarded poets performed their own creations with artistic interludes like dance, singing and music. It was a marvel experience, it seemed like living a fairy tale. As Art Director of the festival, one of my major responsibility was to provide great performers, quality singers, musicians, dancers, the entire artistic platform. I shall add that it was one of the most extraordinary life-experience!

Some people say that good dance is about the correct moves, while some say it is expression that enables the spectator to understand the theme without even knowing music or words, while some others say it is rhythm and repetition. What do you say?

It is not easy to have the correct dance movements, it takes time, dedication and constant study of this art. The body does not lie. Vittoria Ottolenghi, one of the major Italian dance critics said that dance is an ambiguous art compared to other forms of art, when the dance is finished, there is no continuation. I always prefer few technical details, but the harmonious ones, lots of knowledge as basis as well listening to your own body. One body move will not be the same in Time and Space.

You wish to pursue intercultural exchange between the East and the West. Tell us more about your dream?

The dance could be born anywhere in the world. Or, maybe the World itself created the dance giving to the human beings the opportunity to express themselves through dancing. More than ever now, it is imperative the intercultural exchange between West and East, between an Occident which “looks” towards a future more and more hectic and an Orient eager to give “space” to its own creative and artistic evolvement. My dream is to see a great brotherhood between different nations, without borders, with no hurdles. I dream of a world full with Peace, Harmony and Serenity.

Do you feel that the West has still a lot to learn from East and vice versa? If yes, what do you feel the two cultures need to learn to initiate a cultural bonding?

The news coming from the East, at times do not reflect the entire truth. There is still much to be done for achieving common and indivisible goals, either from one side or another one. I believe it is not that difficult to have and live in a globalized world under a mutual understanding of harmony and cultural connectedness. We are ONE human race and we need to come to this understanding and acceptance. And embrace this reality.

What are your future plans in life?
Artistically speaking I have had the most wonderful satisfactions of my life. Soon I shall dedicate my efforts for the second edition of KIBATEK – Global Poetry Festival in Italy, to Pablo Neruda Awards, to the cultural association with all its artistic manifestations, to carry out my dance shows activities and journalism about dance as I truly enjoy writing. For the future, I wish to have more tranquility.
What is your success mantra?

Success is something that touches various spheres of life of a person. We can feel satisfied with little and still consider that we attained the success. We can achieve high levels in our career while living in less favorable conditions. However, the true wealth stands in being happy with what life gives to us, feeling good about yourself and of course with others.


What do you think about Hall of Poets International ezine and what message would you give to our readers?

I often follow “Hall of Poets” as I consider it as being a dynamic and optimum magazine. I wish to the readers of this magazine, lots of serenity and happiness and most of all the HOPE to live in a peaceful world. And of course, to keep reading “Hall of Poets” magazine.

Massimiliano Raso