At the age of 7, he started training and graduated from Spazio Danza School di Annalisa Cernese. He spent a lot of time on and off the stage. Two years in Rome, three years in London and from 2016 he has been in New York. Stefano Nappi has a very interesting story to narrate.
We met on a sunny Sunday morning in Manhattan to find out more about him. His life, his interests, his habbits. My friends…this is Stefano!
– Stefano, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I have read a lot about you.
Timothy, nice to meet you too and thank you.
– So, let’s start from the beginning… When did you realize that you wanted to be a choreographer?
Ιn the beginning of my career, I had a serious back injury which limited my flexibility. This discouraged me from dancing and after a tough period of my life, I started teaching ballet. This was the beginning of my career as a choreographer. I was in my mid-20s.
– What is your motivation to improve yourself?
As an artist, I’m obsessed with my job. I give it everything I have got aiming to become better and better. You know, you must have a passion to do it. So, my passion for this art is my motivation.
– Who is the person that inspires you?
My mother! She is the one who has always supported me in every decision Ι have made in my life! I owe her so much.
– Who was your mentor?
My first ballet teacher. Annalisa Cernese. The woman who knew from the first time we met that I had a very special talent.
– What role do you think an artist has in society?
My goal as a choreographer is to create work that is emotionally approachable while firmly rooted in classical ballet. My work focuses on human themes: memory, archetype, transformation, and communication. I seek to strike a compelling balance in which technique serves as a beautiful frame for feelings.
– Do you like contemporary art?
Yes! I’m always inspired by arts of all kinds and movies. Everything has something that you can inspire you. A feeling, a secret message. Maybe things that could inspire me in my next steps.
– How many hours per day do you spend exercising to be in good shape before a performance?
When I was dancing I had to train 5-6 hours per day. You know, there are a lot of things you have to do. Now, as a choreographer, it depends on the schedule. If I need to create a new piece I have to spend 2-3 hours in the studio.
– How has your practice changed over time?
Physically it is less intense because I don’t need to be necessarily in shape, but I work a lot with my brain to put my ideas together! I have to spend a lot of hours thinking and thinking…
– The life of a choreographer has some restrictions. Do you have bad habits?
When I was a dancer I had a lot of restrictions, now as a choreographer not really. As a dancer, you have to be in really good shape. If you gain a pound it’s like a day in hell. Although, I always try to have a healthy life. I sleep well, I do my exercises and I eat healthily. I really like cooking healthy foods.
– When you leave the stage, what do you do to get relaxed?
When I used to be a dancer, sometimes I had a massage or iced bath. Now, as a choreographer, I am used to having a glass of wine. You know, when you are backstage and you observe the reaction of the audience your heart has this awkward beat. You have to figure out if what you have done is good for them. So, when a performance ends you feel so tired and the only thing that relaxes me is a glass of wine.
– Stefano, closing our conversation, where can people find you this period?
I’m based in New York City and I’m working on a new project. I’ll inform you as soon as possible for it.
– Thank you, Stefano. It was a pleasure meeting you.