Stuart Waters and Kip Johnson in “LOL (lots of love)” by Luca Silvestrini’s Protein. Photograph by Nuno Santos

Lots of Love

Luca Silvestrini’s Protein celebrates 21 years of dance for everyone

For twenty one years, Luca Silvestrini’s Protein have been creating wildly inventive, witty and moving dance pieces, including “LOL (lots of love),” which interrogates our interactions with technology; a vivid, colourful version of “The Little Prince,” and “Border Tales,” a thoughtful, heartfelt look at immigration. Lorna Irvine catches up with Protein’s artistic director Luca Silvestrini to find out more as they launch their new digital programme.


Congratulations Protein on turning twenty one. What’s been the biggest learning curve for you all, over the years?

Thank you. There were quite a few learning curves along the way, and being on reflective mode right now, because of our year-long celebration activities has made me more aware of them, including the missed learning opportunities. I can say that the biggest and most rewarding lessons have come from knowing that downs and doubts can be used and turned into growing opportunities and chances to refine your practice and approaches.

Your work more often than not interrogates big societal issues. Do you think audiences come away from your work seeing things with a fresh perspective?

It might be about gaining a fresh perspective for some, but generally I hope that audiences keep the conversation going after the show is finished, either internally or with others. My choice of socially relevant themes comes from personal enquiries, from facts and challenges that I face or that affect others; I want the work to hold up a mirror, allowing audiences to recognise themselves or something familiar in it and have a reaction to what they have seen and felt.

Kip Johson in “LOL (lots of love)” by Luca Silvestrini’s Protein. Photograph by Nuno Santos

LOL” was an incredibly prescient piece. When you first created it, did you think we would all be so tech savvy, collectively, nowadays?

I partially did, the signs were all there. When we created “LOL,” we were at the start of a massive change in connectivity and we had concerns about the future. Ten years down the line, everyone seems to comfortably shift and mix between real life and online life, and the risk of digital dependency has been absorbed by normativity. I am hooked too, but I remain concerned and I often look back nostalgically.

As we’re all rethinking how art is made just now, what do you think the future looks like for dance in general? 

Well, now more than ever digital connectivity has determined the way we make and engage with dance and the performing arts in general. In a way technology has saved us during this pandemic, and we might even have discovered new opportunities that can be continued and developed beyond this period. However, this is not a substitute and nothing will ever replace the real thing, the physical connection we so much need in the studio and on stage, amongst performers and with our audiences and participants.                                                                                                                                       

“LOL (lots of love)” is screened on June 25th at 7pm, with more films screened monthly thereafter. To find out more about the screenings and the company, head to the company website.

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