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dance France Matteo Stulo performing arts

AFRICAN BOLERO

MATTEO STULO

// Matteo is an amateur photographer based in Paris, France, and his passion for photography began as a young adult living in Istanbul, Turkey. He shared a series of photographs from a modern dance performance, which was choreographed to Ravel’s Bolero, combining traditional East African dances and contemporary dance.

During his working life Matteo was a researcher, heading an academic research laboratory in the medical imaging field. Thus he fabricated, manipulated and processed images all his life. But his photographic passion is primarily geared towards street photography, although he also enjoys landscape, travel and still life photography. “What I mostly like in street photography is to capture interaction between people, to capture and show all those little poetic events from every moment of life that we usually don’t notice,” he says.

His favourite quote is from the novelist Milan Kundera, because he thinks it could apply to photography as well:


“To compose a novel is to juxtapose different emotional spaces, and that is the most subtle art of a novelist.”

Milan Kundera


What draws you to art?

“An artistic practice has always seemed essential to me in my life since my youth, no doubt to find a balance with my professional scientific activity. I tried my hand at different forms of artistic expression: music, writing, dance and photography. Finally, dance and photography have taken the most important place in the last twelve years. Having practiced dance as a hobby for many years, I was naturally drawn to dance photography, whether on the streets, on the stage or on club dance floors. I must say that the music helps me a lot in the photography of the dance to decide when to click the shutter. For me, photographing dance is one of the most complete forms of photographic expression.”

What impressed you most about the experience of photographing these dancers?

“From the very first seconds of the performance, I understood that this would be one of the most bewitching dance show I had ever seen. There was of course the music of Ravel’s Bolero, which captivates you from the first bars. But the dancers themselves seemed totally bewitched, possessed by the music, as if they had given up all voluntary control over their movements and these were just an emanation of the music running through their muscles. I was totally captivated and tried to capture in my images the sensuality and poetry that emanated from these magnificent bodies and from the choreography.”

In July 2021, after a long period of lock-down and Covid-related restrictions on dancing activities, Matteo heard about the performance, East African Bolero, in which the major Rwandan dancer and choreographer Wesley Ruzibiza & choreographer and Beninois/French dance trainer Vincent Harisdo revisit Ravel’s Bolero combining traditional East African dances and contemporary dance, with dancers from Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo. “I thought it could be an interesting opportunity for me, as a photographer and dancer, to take my camera with me and attend the performance in this uncertain time, with home quarantines and lack of dance since several months.”

Like Matteo, we love all forms of dance, and so when we discovered Matteo´s gorgeous performance captures, we were immediately transported onto the stage, wishing we could have witnessed the performance live.


Images may be cropped for layout. Click on the photos to see the original version.

ALL PHOTOS © MATTEO STULO

You could also visit Matteo´s Instagram page and his website for more of her work.

Twitter account of Wesley Ruzibiza

Instagram account of Vincent Harisdo