Originally from Italy, Elisa Vassena holds a First Class Honors Degree from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, being awarded the Marion North Award for Performance for her final year (2011 – 12). She has worked with various artists, including Matteo Fargion, Marie Gabrielle Rotie, Rachel Lopez de la Nieta, Janine Harrington, Tino Sehgal, Josiah McElheny and Dog Kennel Hill Project. Recently, she took part in the performance project You don’t know how lucky you are by Alessandro Sciarroni, as part of the Venice Dance Biennale. As well as working for other artists, Elisa is also interested in making her own work, collaborating with Stella Papi in the duo SALSAROSA.
How did you come to be a performer?
Well, I started dance when I was 7. It was just a hobby for a while, then it gradually became a real passion. When I finished high school and had to decide which path to take, I asked myself what I would miss the most and regret not having tried, and so I decided to give dance a chance. I auditioned for Laban, came to London and everything sort of unravelled the way it is now.
How do you prepare before a performance?
I recently found that what works for me is to exhaust myself a bit before performing. Not to become overly tired, just a bit tired so I’m more relaxed. I can more easily go into a performance and be ready to be watched, if there’s less tension there to affect me.
How do you feel when you perform?
It’s a weird sensation. It’s in between something private and something public. I feel exposed and reserved at the same time so it’s a bizarre, but definitely intriguing dichotomy.
How does performing outside feel compared to inside?
I think there’s something different about concentration and attention. You can easily get lost, not just from the performers’ point of view, but also the audience point of view. It’s easier to lose things, harder to draw attention to specific details, as there’s a lot happening anyway around it. But I love it. And I like the fact that it’s a way to let our surroundings talk and come alive.
What is your earliest memory?
A lot of my memories are affected by pictures of me from when I was little. My earliest memory would probably be triggered by some photo my mum took. Kindergarten…maybe some moments from there…? I think a lot of our earliest memories are influenced by records of ourselves from back then. It’s not actually a real memory, it’s a reconstructed memory.
What do you like to do on your day off?
I always try to go to exhibitions if there is something interesting to go for. I guess I like spending it with my friends. We always work at different times, it’s sometimes impossible to see each other. So if we manage… cooking together, spending time together, catching up with everyone.