His first visit to the Netherlands took place during an exchange between his secondary school and a school in Culemborg.
Nico Amenduni is 'enchanted' by it: the surroundings were so different, the Dutch were so nice. "At the time, I knew nothing of the Dutch dance world, but my modern dance teacher, himself from Codarts, had already talked to me about the study programme in Rotterdam. During the visit to Culemborg, the thought did cross my mind: yes, I can see myself living here."
It was the RAI 1 talent show Amici that put Italian Nico under the spell of dance out of the blue. "I saw a fantastic dancer, Leon Cino, and shouted: 'I want to take dance lessons!'" He considers himself lucky that his parents, themselves fanatical sportsmen, have always had an open mind and instilled an interest in culture. They therefore took immediate action when Nico wanted to swap competitive swimming for dance.
Because he wants to finish secondary school and because, he says, there are no good contemporary dance schools in Italy, he stayed at his first ballet school until he was nineteen. The transfer to Codarts was initially difficult for him. "I had to find myself among dancers from all over the world, and that went with ups and downs."
I see every experience as a precious gift.
The other part of the iceberg
He has never had a real 'dream company'. "You can get hypnotised by all those beautiful films that companies post on the Internet, but they say nothing about the atmosphere in a company, the air you breathe, the opportunities to develop. The other, hidden part of the iceberg, so to speak. Scapino has definitely exceeded his expectations in that respect. Right from his internship year, he was given the chance to dance in Ed Wubbe's Scala and felt "such trust from Ed, while I really did not have a backpack full of material to give him". About his colleagues, he says: "They have made me who I am today. They are my source of inspiration, the shoulder I can cry on."
- 1996, Terlizzi (province of Bari), Italy
- Associazione Culturale Dance World (led by Sabrina Scioscia) Ruvo di Puglia, Italy
- Codarts Rotterdam
- At Scapino since
Dance is not only about performing two thousand steps, it is also about the human side: how do you relate to your fellow dancers, the ballet masters, the people at the office.
Open and present
Besides Scala, Marcos Moreau's Cathedral is also an important highlight for him. "I found it a breathtaking experience to dive into his world. A rollercoaster, a dream in which I seemed to be detached from reality."
Whereas Nico often retreated into his own world as a quiet, dreamy child, he now consciously tries to be receptive and present, to open himself up to everything that comes his way. "I want to be humble towards every choreographer, repetitor or assistant; I see every experience as a precious gift. Developing as a dancer is a never-ending process."
That same attitude marks him out as a human being. "You can be on Instagram all day, but you can also be aware of what's going on in the world. Through that and in the confrontation with others, you can come to new insights. It is good when others give you reason to doubt. Sometimes that also means that you just have to shut up for a while, be quiet, in order to listen to others and understand them, and in that way form new thoughts."
Photography: Khalid Amakran | Interview: Astrid van Leeuwen