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The Three-Year Program

In October 2010 Helikos has offered the first Three-Year Program: Three Semesters of training in Movement Based Theatre Creation. The first 9 students graduated in May 2013.


Another program started in October 2011 and 12 Students  graduated in May 2014.


The program has been active in Florence, over a period of three semesters, of 26 weeks each, between October and early May each year.


The first year is the awakening of the poetic potential of the body. It’s a rediscovery of the world and nature through the study of its movements. Through the observation and imitation of every day life, the actor/poet reaches the awareness that reality is based on a network of relations and interconnections of actions and reactions. This is the dynamic core of the stories that theatre will tell.


The journey begins with the awareness of the body in space, working with two fundamental masks: the Neutral Mask and the Red Nose. With these two archetypal masks, the artist comes to the understanding of the difference between movement and drama, between neutral and dramatic, and recognizes the story/drama/action that every individual body is carrying. The Red Nose reveals each person’s theatrical comedy and gives the person the physical awareness to move beyond it, towards neutrality. The Neutral Mask allows the actor to work on presence and openness to space, and to reach the silence before the beginning of the storytelling.


Once the neutral space is integrated in the body, the mimo-dynamic journey can begin: an adventure of observation and imitation of nature, in which the actor will discover a variety of rhythms, forms, gestures and dynamics that will enrich her/his poetic language. Nature is the first source of inspiration, and this knowledge through imitation inspires a vision of theatre based in the movements of life. This process prepares the body to the various dynamics that the different theatre genres will require. The last step of the first year is the exploration of human nature, through the study of characters.



The Program of the First Year


Awareness of the body in space

Breath awakening and breath’s relationship to/with the physical energy

Observation and imitation of every day life

Le Jeu:  the non-intentional actionThe rules of theatre play: Space, Action/Reaction, Time, Duration, Rhythm and Timing,      Crescendo and Fun

Mime of Action: the study of the movement of the human body

The 20 Movements of Jacques Lecoq

Le jeu: play, states of playing and trance

The duality of Neutral Mask and Red Nose and the play of the actor with forms

The Actor’s Body: Neutral Space and Dramatic Space

Clown State and Neutral State

The Neutral Mask: calm presence and the neutral body.

The actor in the theatrical space

The Mimo-Dynamic journey: dynamic study of nature (elements, animals, materials...) towards theatre creation.

The journey through states of consciousness: the shapeshifting body

Mimo-dynamic approach to the arts: poetry, painting, music

The dynamic of emotions,  human passions and psychological movements (polarities)

Creation of Theatrical CharactersCharacters, Masks  and dramatic projection

The voice as a mask of space

The play of the double-charaters (Quick Change)

Theatre in Limited Space: les Treteaux




The second year is dedicated to the Mask, the first archetype of all theatrical languages. The “other” from oneself and the “other”  within oneself. The journey starts with The Enquiries, an experience of creation based on the observation of life and its transposition into the theatrical space. Theatre is storytelling and to tell a story we need a language. The words of theatre language are the forms in motion. Theatre as representation is rigorous play with the forms of life. The main skill of the actor is shapeshifting, the ability to change forms. The archetype of all forms is the mask, which essentializes and transposes the movement dynamics, creates theatrical space and allows the play between the actor and the form itself. For these reasons, masks have a central role all throughout the second-year program.

After the expansion of the sensitivity of the body during the first year, the actor-creator now encounters various families of masks: full masks (larval, primary, expressive), half masks (Human Comedy and Comemdia dell'Arte). They all push the actor to amplify her/his level of playing, integrating movement and emotions. The actor with a mask goes beyond an intellectual way of playing and reaches a physical dimension of theatre in which ideas and feelings are integrated.

Mask playing (le jeu masqué) requires contact with the fundamental urgenses and drives  of life and a rigorous technique of articulation. Movement technique plays a key role in the second year, becoming a permanent practice of articulation, rhythm, timing and treatment of movements through the state of the various masks.

The second year culminates with the mask of the Red Nose, and the play of theatre clown, in which the actor discovers her/his unique way of being stupid and transpose it into a Poetic Form: the individual clown.


The program of the Second Year


Treatments of space and time: the emergence of a style

Enquiries on life and its theatrical transposition

The play of masks: essentialisation and transposition of movements,emotions, gestures and dynamics

Masks: forms moving in space

esign and Handcraft of a Full-mask

Full Masks: Larval Masks, Primary Masks, Expressive Masks

From Human Passions to Human Comedy: the play of the Half-Masks

The vocal work of masks: resonators and articulation of voice

The voice of emotions and passions

Design and Handcraft of a Half-mask

Commedia dell'Arte: traditional Italian comedy. Types, lazzi and canovacci

Devising and Performing of a Canovaccio

The Red Nose: the Individual Clown.

Devising and Performing of a Clown variety show

Clowns in life

From Clown to Masks: design and handcraft of a Larval-Mask

Presentation of Solo Projects.


The third year is focused on the exploration of some fundamental theatrical territories or genres, in the footsteps of the archetypal genres of ancient theatre: tragedy, satiric drama and comedy. The purpose is to give the students the instruments to understand how each genre has a specific way of articulating the various elements of theatre language: the space, the body and the levels of playing, writing and the relationship with the audience. By “levels of playing” we mean: levels of tension or physical energy that the actor uses while playing.

All theatre genres are variations on Storytelling.

Melodrama deals with the dynamic of emotions and their consequences. Tragedy enters the vertical dimension of space, when the human community reunites in a chorus to witness the fight of the heroes with fate, the will of the gods, and their surrendering to the irreversible dynamics of life and death.

Bouffons will reverse the space and mock all the themes that are dear to the humans and reveal the hidden (=grotesque) side of humanity. Comedy is the search of the many ways in which characters, movement, space and writings can be unbalanced and provoke the fall of the audience into laughter.

This journey of the Third Year  has a specific performing quality, and the audience is regularly invited to the presentation of the creations of the students. The work also involves the exploration of classic and contemporary texts as well as the writing of original ones.


The program of the Third Year


The language of gestures: Pantomime and Bandes Mimées


Melodrama and Melo-mime: the play of emotions

The cycle of melodrama: the victim and the wound, the villain and the drama.Suffering, resolution, redemption.

The choral storytelling

From Neutral Mask to Tragedy: the Chorus and the Hero

The Hero’s cycle: individual drama, fight against destiny, death and catharsis

Satiric Drama and Bouffons: the play of mocking

Satyrs, Fools and Lunatics

Grotesque characters

Creatures of Fantasy and Mystery

Comic theatre: the Burlesque, the Eccentric, the Absurd, Slapstick and Comic Characters

Presentation of Individual Projects: Les Commandes

Creation project on devising a show  (optional)


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