Angelo Vasta is an Italian-born, Brooklyn-based videographer who works primarily with the dance community. He came to the US to study filmmaking at The New School in New York, and quickly fell into documenting dancers as a means of reconnecting with his earlier unfulfilled ambitions to pursue  dance himself, that were dashed as a result of his late launch (“I was never good enough to become professional!”) However he parlayed his passion for the medium into an alternate career trajectory, focusing on vidoegraphy instead, to capture the essence of movement as a form of expression. “Film and dance are both motion-based art forms, so for me there was an organic pairing.”

After migrating to New York and enrolling in his film program, he quickly settled into videography as his preferred medium rather than screenwriting or directing. “I’ve always wanted to be a professional dancer; this is why I’m doing dance films. The camera gives me an opportunity to explore a world that I connect with and that deeply attracts me. This is very important as I always try to express this tension through my work.” That tension is palpable in the results, as his work delves into the nexus of dance and film, exploring movement through the lens of a camera. He remarks, “as a dance filmmaker sometimes I need to study the choreography myself to better understand how to put it on screen, and with my camera it feels both like being the choreographer and the dancer.”

Of Vasta’s creative process, his methods have evolved over the years as he’s tuned his craftsmanship and aesthetics. Now well into his career, his portfolio has grown into an impressive collection of films that span a wide artistic spectrum, working primarily with dance companies to help capture the ethos of their various culture, choreographic underpinnings as well as hands on with specific dancers. “Each dance company is very different. With some I need to stay out of the dancer’s way. I have to be an invisible presence in the studio, in which case it’s difficult for me to always get the best shots. With others I can ask the choreographer or the dancers to do specific things for the camera, so I actively interact with them and my presence in the studio becomes something that is used to challenge them.”

Ballet Hispanico – LINEA RECTA from Angelo Silvio Vasta on Vimeo.

As far as his works’ musical accompaniments go, his process is simultaneously simple and elegant, seeking songs that fit with his work as a finished project. “It’s actually very easy for me to find music to go with the film, as almost everything I hear just seems to fit with the choreography in somehow. It’s like magic!” He is currently collaborating with Ludovico Schilling for one of his current projects, called “Dance Against Racism” which will be published during the International Week of Discrimination. His other go-to artists include those in Moby’s “Mobygratis” collective, whose music is available free of charge for independent filmmakers. As for what Angelo listens to at home, at varies from nostalgia-inspiring Italian songwriters to modern-day pop divas. “I always love to listen to some Italian songwriters like Francesco De Gregori, Franco Battiato, Lucio Battisti, Fabrizio De Andrè…Once in a while I need to listen to them. Their melodies and lyrics are home and remind me so much of my childhood and my country, especially now that I live in the US, so I really need to listen to them especially when I’m home sick…plus their music is just so good. On the US side, I’m in a Stevie Nicks/ Fleetwood Mac period (and also The Police, old fashion Madonna, The Cure, Eagles, Talking Heads). And of course Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyonce are always perfect for when I need to recharge the batteries or crazy dance.”

Sanctuary from Angelo Silvio Vasta on Vimeo.

 Look out for forthcoming work of Vasta’s out this summer. In the meantime catch one of his recommended picks for dance in NYC below!
-“For those ones who missed Batsheva Dance Company at Bam few weeks ago I suggest to go see the film Mr.Gaga showing now at Lincoln Center. Documentary about the artistic director of the company.”
– “Mark Morris is presenting two operas at Bam at the end of June.”
– “Ballet Hispanico will perform in April at the Joyce Theater bringing three different pieces. One of them is Linea Recta, a piece choreographed by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa that I had the privilege to capture during its genesis/creation as I did the work-in-progress video for it!”
– “Other companies that are performing at the Joyce this spring that I would recommend are Stephen Petronio and Limon Dance Company.”
 – “The New York City Ballet is showing all Balanchine in April 2016.”


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