Sunday, February 10, 2013

Venice Carnevale 2013 - The Magic Continues

Youth of Dagestan Dancing Group
(Venice, Italy) Thanks to a cultural exchange between the Russian Republic of Dagestan and Venice, the dancing group the "Youth of Dagestan" is here during Carnevale, performing their passionate dances on stage at Piazza San Marco. From the Carnival of Venice official site, slightly edited:

On the southern edge of Russia lies a wonderful mountain village - Dagestan - indeed, the Mount of languages, the ancients said. The people here speak over thirty different languages​​. However, all the ethnic groups have lived and worked in peace for centuries. Since ancient times Dagestan has been famous for its handicrafts. The art of the masters and popular culture are transmitted from generation to generation, with poems, songs and dances.
 

Their national dance lezghinka -- impetuous, fiery, fervent -- does not leave anybody indifferent. The performances of the dancing group "Youth of Dagestan" is a testament to the originality of the multicultural society of Dagestan. The group was formed in 1978 by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Dagestan. Over the years the group has developed into a collective of skilled dancers. 
 

The group has achieved a broad consensus of the public in 32 countries and has won the International Festival of Folklore on several occasions. Today, the complex State dance of the people of the Caucasus is performed by "Youth of Dagestan," a group of high-level professionals who are always looking for new forms of artistic expression and are ready to reach new levels!


It's peaceful here in Venice, with throngs of people wandering through town, some dressed in elaborate costumes, some not, some wearing masks, some not, and others getting designs painted on their faces. Here are some images I captured today.


 From a Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog post entitled, Venetian Masks:


As far back as the 11th century, the mattaccino costume was worn by mischievous young men, who, dressed as clowns, would bombard noblewomen with eggs filled with rosewater, inspiring the first official documentation regarding masks: a 1268 law prohibiting the throwing of eggs while disguised. The Venetian government apparently gave up trying to enforce it, however, and resorted to putting up nets along the Procuratie in St. Mark's Square to protect the ladies and their rich clothing. 



Mask-making in Venice can be documented back to the 13th century, though it probably existed much earlier. On April 10, 1436, the ancient profession of mascareri was founded under the jurisdiction of the Painter's Guild. Over the years, masks were used for a variety of reasons -- in the government, the theater, and as a means of disguise. Masks provided the Venetians a degree of anonymity.
 

The wearing of a mask put everyone on the same level: rich and poor, nobleman and citizen, beautiful and ordinary, old and young. It permitted confidences to be exchanged anonymously -- everything from accusations before State Inquisitors, to a potpourri of sexual indiscretions. Prostitutes practiced their trade without fear of retribution; homosexuals hid their illicit lifestyle. In 1458, it was decreed that men were forbidden to dress up as women and enter convents to commit indecent acts.


Not all masks were used for indelicacies, however. The bauta was worn by both men and women, and was not considered a costume but a form of dress -- required wearing if a woman wanted to go to the theater. Il medico della peste had a long beak-like nose stuffed with disinfectants, and, as its name implies, was used to protect doctors from the plague.
 

Another ingredient in this colorful mix was the Italian theater, Commedia dell'arte. In the 18th century, the renowned Venetian playwright, Carlo Goldoni, brought theatrical masks to the forefront. Pantalone, Harlequin, Colombina and Pulcinella were among the many masks that found their way into the Carnival.
 

Over the years, Carnival festivities grew more decadent until it evolved into a 250-day event of non-stop parties, gambling and dancing. Social and class distinctions were flipped on their heads, with servants dressing up as masters and vice versa. It was difficult to distinguish a housewife wearing a traditional mask, cape, hood and three corner hat from a nobleman dressed in the same outfit, allowing both to move freely though the city without fear of recognition. ...


Over in Campo Sant' Angelo there is the Carneval Altro - Facciamo la Festa all'Austerity, or the "Other Carnival - Let's Celebrate Austerity," where students flood in from all over the region and dance the night away, and where the anti-cruise ship folks, Comitato No Grandi Navi, have set up a base. Dogs play frisbee while gyros sizzle in the background, and the sweet smell of crepes cooking perfumes the air.

There is something for everybody at this year's Carnival, and everyone seems to be having a good time. The thing that always amazes me about the Carnival in Venice is how polite people are despite sometimes being caught in a pedestrian traffic jam. There is a feeling of goodwill permeating the air, and the city feels alive and warm. Let's hope it is a sign of more good things to come!

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

3 comments:

  1. Thanks to a cultural exchange between the Russian Republic of Dagestan and Venice, the dancing group the "Youth of Dagestan" is here during Carnevale, performing their passionate dances on stage at Piazza San Marco.

    ..."On the southern edge of Russia lies a wonderful mountain village - Dagestan - indeed, the Mount of languages, the ancients said. The people here speak over thirty different languages​​. However, all the ethnic groups have lived and worked in peace for centuries. Since ancient times Dagestan has been famous for its handicrafts. The art of the masters and popular culture are transmitted from generation to generation, with poems, songs and dances."

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  2. Thanks for your nice comments. I am glad that this information has been of use to you.

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  3. I'd say I get a comment like this a few times a week, and normally I don't publish them. This time I did:)

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