Published on Thursday 8 August 2019

Malta’s national repertory dance company ŻfinMalta has featured on the Entertainment front page of The Wallstreet International, complete with front-page image, in a review penned by noted dance essayist and critic Marinella Guatterini.

Picking up ŻfinMalta’s rendering of its performance Voyager at the 2019 edition of the Civitanova Danza festival, Guatterini praised Malta’s ‘nine bravi interpreters’ who ‘immerse themselves in a very refined habitat’ of ‘continuous dynamic movement’. 

In her commentary, Guatterini notes how ‘beautiful is this idea of Voyager, and its elegant layout, which at a certain point has a huge golden microphone drop down from above - the transfigured Voyager Golden Record – only to have it disappear as the dancers in reddish slips are dragged away by the wind, through smoke and fog.’

Guatterini, who is also the coordinator of the theatre programme at Teatro alla Scala Ballet and director of the course for dancers at the Civica Scuola di Teatro ‘Paolo Grassi’ in Milan, was writing about ŻfinMalta’s recently-created performance, directed by ŻfinMalta’s young artistic director Paolo Mangiola.

Voyager is inspired by an American astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan’s idea, forty-one years ago, of sending a time capsule into outer space that would give intelligent life a snapshot of Earth's diversity, sounds, feelings and thoughts through 116 images encoded in analogue form. 

The Washington Post critic also had words of praise for Mangiola, who has himself created works for the Royal Ballet, Tanztheater Nürnberg, Aterballetto and Balletto di Roma and, as a performer, collaborated and danced for artists and choreographers such as Wayne McGregor, Deborah Hay, Martin Creed, Mauro Bigonzetti and Jacopo Godani.

Fascinated by Sagan's work, Mangiola got wondering what NASA would send into outer space was it to repeat the same exercise today. How would we represent our past, our present, and our hopes for the future? What would the elements archived in it look like? How would we select them? In short, what would a Golden Record look like if propelled to another planet in 2019?

Behind the creation of Voyager is also a full Maltese team that has included visual artist Austin Camilleri, composer Veronique Vella and designer Luke Azzopardi. Camilleri, Vella and Azzopardi collaborated with Mangiola to create an experience that propels its audience into a world of introspection, self-discovery and reflection on the way human beings are treating the planet.

Following a successful world premiere of Voyager last November, ŻfinMalta has taken its full-length creation to different theatres around the Maltese islands earlier on in the year. More information may be found at