Italian aerialist Davide Zongoli brings his high-flying act Stateside
From the ages of five to sixteen, Davide Zongoli was a competitive swimmer, but realizing that it wasn’t something he wanted to pursue further, he was forced to look in a new direction. That’s when he tried out a modern dance class and ended up finding not only a new direction, but a new passion.
Fascinated by the circus and the artists flying in the air since he was a kid, he spent his free time climbing to the top of trees to get the feeling of flying high. After years of classes and eventually years of working as a dancer on television programs, in films and in many theater productions throughout Europe, Zongoli attended an audition for an acrobatic dance company and got the job. There, he began learning aerial-acrobatic disciplines like aerial hoop and aerial silks. He hasn’t looked back since.
What drives you to keep performing?
I spend time on the internet researching new shows and opportunities to use new tricks in my show. I try to learn something new every day. I just started to take classes to be able to do more acrobatic things on the cruise ships I’ve performed on too. I read a lot too. I read lots of manga because they make my brain wake up.
How do you continue to challenge yourself so you don’t end up being bored by the same routine over and over?
Actually, I never do the same routine twice. If I have a contract to do a certain show, like the one I was just doing on a cruise ship, then that’s the same. But for my performances, it’s something new every time. Currently, I’m training with another acrobat and we are building an acro show together. Utilizing screen mapping behind us, we will be interacting with the screen, there are 3D elements and it’s going to be cool to hopefully bring that to cruise ships.
For what you do, you have to stay in peak physical shape. Was fitness something you’ve always loved or something you grew to love for your art?
I have to be in shape every time. It’s not an option. Some of my colleagues don’t do it like that, but in my opinion, if you want to get the job, you have to look the part. My job is first a visual job and they’re looking at you and your shape. you’re on stage and you’re a gymnast. You have to be a good performer but you have to have the good body too.
Just like in your performances, how do you keep your workouts from becoming stale?
I have two different kinds of workouts. I have one that makes me big, mostly bodybuilding where I lift weights. The other is my acro workout, which is lots of stretching and all of my rehearsal at the circus school. The balancing of those two workouts is actually what makes me who I am as a physical performer. If I just did the gym, I’d get too big, and if I did just the acro, I’d get too slim.
You’ve spent the last year performing on a cruise ship and traveling the world. What have you learned about yourself that you didn’t know before you got on the boat?
I have more patience now. When you have to share your life with someone else by working together every day for six months, side-by-side, you can’t fight. I’ve learned to be more concentrated, more calm and to not get mad as much. I’m Italian so because of genetics, I’m the louder one. But I’m trying to change and be more open as well. Open to different cultures, different points-of-view, and different lifestyles. I’ve met a thousand people from different countries and I saw the world from different angles. The common thing with everyone is that they want to be happy. That’s what I’ve taken away from this past year. Respect others and be happy.
What would you like to accomplish next?
I met a director, Ronald Riqueros, and he has a short film project called “Boys of Life” that brings together the male form and poetry. He wanted to start the series with me because I’m Italian and then there will be other men in the short films each month. The films are set to poetry and are an artistic exploration of the male body. They’re sensual and erotic and NSFW, but they’re about the beauty of the body. So that’s coming soon.
Currently, I am headed back to Europe. I have a workshop in Tel Aviv, and I have a contract in Germany to do a circus festival with my aero-pole act. After that, I may be headed back to the States.
What is your dream for your life?
I really want to build a show myself, with my ideas coming to life on the stage. I want to keep doing that either for myself or for someone else. At some point, I want to open my own school of dance, circus, and gymnastics.
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