Borders, Davide Bellotta has little to do with them. He once left Italy to end up in the Netherlands via Switzerland. He trained as a dancer at the Opus Ballet Centro Coreografico in Florence, but soon broadened his field to include music, film, scenography, installations. At Panama Pictures, all those skills now come together. “I feel fully involved there,” he says.

Ask him about his profession and he hesitates. “I am not one thing, I am everything: dancer, musician, filmmaker, composer, performer. With me, one cannot exist without the other.” That versatility was always there. “Even as a teenager, I was interested in design and films, made music and danced. After my training, when I joined a company in Switzerland to dance, that interest took even more shape. With other artists there, we made installations, multi-sensopic experiences with image, music, dance, all sorts of things. Each from his own strength, without thinking: I am the dancer, he is the filmmaker. We let go of the frameworks. Together we created and experienced something unique.” 

Double role 

Love brought Davide to Rotterdam in 2009, where he has been working as a dancer, choreographer and videographer with Conny Janssen Danst for 13 years. “Through performer Miquel de Jong, I was introduced to the work of Panama Pictures; I found that fusion of dance, circus and music fascinating.” He got in touch with Pia Meuthen, who asked him in 2017 for the first Road to Panama, followed by Requiem for Lost Things and The Future is not what it used to be.” Initially that was mostly dance, sometimes I made music and a video. But for The Future, Pia asked me if, besides dancing, I wanted to co-compose the music ánd play live during the performance. So it was a double role, a challenge. But a very nice one. Which I have since fulfilled in more Panama Pictures performances.”


To compose, Davide collaborates with musician Jeroen Strijbos, of composer duo Strijbos and Van Rijswijk. “Before we start anything, we already have very extensive discussions with Pia and dramaturge Guido Jansen about the theme, the sources of inspiration, the scenography, the movements. This gives me ideas, creates a kind of atmosphere with colours and images, a vibe. And then I start playing, impulsively. Everything I record and share with Pia, Jeroen and Rob. From all those intuitive sounds, after a lot of mixing and refining, tracks emerge that match the scenes and the energy.”

Don’t miss a beat

The physical, extroverted power of the dancer and the mental, calm focus of the musician seem to be each other’s opposites. How does Davide get them united on stage? “That is indeed searching, over and over again. It involves very different energies, is total switching every time. Above all, it requires a lot of concentration, constantly realising what you are doing. I can’t miss a second. That is an enormous responsibility, especially in the performances of Panama Pictures where so much is happening. But I love such challenges. I feel fully involved.”

In the new show The Man who fell from the sky, Davide participates as a performer; the music composed by him and Jeroen Strijbos is performed live there by Budy Mokoginta.

You can find films, animations, documentaries, video clips and music by Davide Bellotta on his website