Francesca Mariano, also known as Francesca Heart or Serpentine Dance, is a movement and sound artist, somatic operator, with Southern Italy origins. She trained with Anna Halprin at the Mountain Home Studio in California, practicing post-modern dance.
This kind of dance is based on the abstraction of everyday movements and everybody can take inspiration from them to create their own personal dance. For Halprin dance is what you see, what you hear, what you smell; it’s how you bring your consciousness and awareness to your everyday experience. It’s the breath made visible, because “if you stop breathing you stop moving”.
In fact, a central component of Francesca’s practice is the body as a vehicle of regeneration and transformation. Her research explores the nuances between connection and alienation through dance, hydro-feminism, electronic music fantasia and landscape choreology to create spaces of experimentation as well as healing.
Since 2016 she runs Serpentine Dance Studio, a private practice in Milan and Online that uses movement and voice as a therapeutic medium. In addition to her personal projects, she works on musical and choreographic compositions for documentaries, fashion and film.
Francesca expresses her curiosity and research through ethereal and magnetic sounds, that always remind to an alchemical and mystic imaginary. When the Morning Stars is a perfect manifestation of her creative message. The title takes inspiration from the painting When the Morning Stars Sang Together (1825, reprinted 1874) by William Blake, that reminds to the Pleiades, an open cluster located in the constellation of Taurus, commonly named The Seven Sisters, known for their incredible beauty and for their incredible brightness in the terrestrial sky.
These stars owe their name to the Greek mythological figure of the Pleiades. The term means doves, but numerous sources believe the name derive from Plèô, or navigate, because these celestial bodies proved to be very useful for navigators who found themselves in danger.
According to one of the several myths about these seven figures, they are the seven daughters of Atlante and Pleione. According to another story, the seven girls are the daughters of the queen of the Amazons; while in yet another they were the virgin companions of Artemis, the goddess of hunting. The last of these myths tells that the Gods, moved by compassion, transformed the seven women into doves. Then, the doves were transformed into stars by the hunter Orion, who used to chase them. Their brightness also gave birth to a legend: none of them was actually a virgin, but all of them had relationships with divinities. That’s why they shine that much into the sky.
Given the numerous myths, it is understandable that these celestial bodies have been known since ancient times, so much so that the greatest classical artists mentioned them in their works. As Blake did in his painting, where all the humans of God stop worrying and start praying staring at the sky, at the beautiful sisters shining bright and bewitching them with their singing.
Francesca, giving her personal retelling of Blake’s work, well transmits her way of uniting myth, magic, enchanted sounds and dance movements creating a healing musical journey. In When the Morning Stars we can perceive the seven sister’s singing: bells, triangles, harps, floating and charming sounds, all cooperate together to recreate the shine of the star-sisters, leaving their stardust behind them at each note, at each movement. Just as the Pleiades act as a lighthouse for those who want to orient themselves by observing the sky, so is Francesca's music style: it makes you wanna dance, it emanates its healing abilities inducing the listener to let himself be hypnotised by its frequencies, to let himself melting in a dance, breaking all the physical-mental tensions.
Listening Francesca’s track we can perfectly understand her translucent attitude. She wanted create a playful hymn to stars, that has the aim of affirm magic as a purifying tool, and ode to mystery, curiosity and faith made by mixing ancestral vibes with videogame and electronic sounds. Drawing from her post-modern dance researches, Francesca realised a melody that creates a correspondence between the celestial bodies and our human body, trying to put us in contact with the astral energy within us, and trying to stimulate a process of borders expansion, dissolution of limits and then healing.
When the Morning Stars is also an ode to divine feminine power, recalling the shamanic energy of the Pleiades, their special light, their amazonian fighters origin, their guide role both for sailors and humans of faith. It’s an invitation to find inside us, regardless of our gender, a healing and driving energy that can guide us through a path of personal liberation and life celebration.