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Boxing portrayed through the art of dance


Audience members will get to sit ringside at a new show documenting the world of boxing through contemporary dance in Vancouver.

The performance takes place tomorrow and Saturday at the Vancouver Playhouse.

Rocco is an examination into the world of boxing through contemporary dance and is showing tonight and tomorrow at the Vancouver Playhouse.

The International Choreographic Arts Centre is an Amsterdam-based dance company that is bringing their show, Rocco, to Vancouver. Rocco’s set casts the audience as the crowd at a live boxing match by seating them around a ring elevated on the stage.

Beauty and the beast 

The show is a beautiful, violent marriage of two unlikely genres said Jim Smith, the show’s producer, adding that it is a relationship that works.

“The performative aspects of both [boxing and dance] live well with one another,” Smith said. “The show explores the art of boxing and how it forms relationships.”

Choreographer Emio Greco, who’s father was a boxer, and Peter C. Scholten co-created Rocco and were inspired by the tenacity of physical and mental preparation both boxers and dancers undertake. During the show’s development, its dancers worked directly with an Italian boxing trainer to adopt the nuance of the sport’s movement.

Inspiration through an Italian film 

The 1960 Italian film, Rocco and his brothers, directed by Luchino Visconti, inspired the show.

Visconti’s film revolves around two brothers Rocco and Simone, both vying for the love of a prostitute named Nadia.

However, Rocco is not a direct adaption of the film, and concerns itself primarily with the relationship and competition between brothers.

“The complexity of what it means to be male is the social underpinning of the show,” Smith said. “What is brotherhood? What is competition? What does it mean to throw your fist at someone?”04-Rocco2-Hodder

Rocco starts at 8 p.m. both tomorrow and Saturday, and there will be a question-and-answer period at 7:15 p.m. before each show. Tickets are $35 to $70 and can be purchased at or by phone at 604-801-6225.

Reported by Mike Hodder

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