Désir mimétique A workshop by Jacopo Jenna

Working in conjunction with the artist Jacopo Jenna and with the Lycée Victor Hugo, the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi promoted a workshop in the course of the academic year 2016/17 devoted to the relationship between images and use of the body. The activity was devised by Jacopo Jenna and developed in partnership with Palazzo Strozzi’s Education Department, with the aim of involving a group of roughly thirty children aged between four and five in the project.

The workshop, which was held in March and April 2017, consisted in a number of encounters held on the premises of the Lycée Victor Hugo in Florence, in the course of which the artist involved the children in a series of performance exercises designed to allow participants to interact with videos projected during the encounters.

Observing the moving images on the screen, the children, who were divided up into small groups, worked on the concept of imitation and on the value of personal interpretation, creating fully-fledged choreographies based on the documentaries and films that they watched at the meetings.

To wind up the programme of activities, a video was produced to record the final phase of the workshop, in which the children view and interact with examples of 20th century choreography ranging from Nijinsky’s ballet to hip-hop. The occasionally complicated movements were transformed into a new dance, in which mistakes became a factor for innovation that turned the imitation process into the creation of something totally new.

The video has been screened at Palazzo Strozzi to tie in with #StrozziNight on 1 June 2017.


Jacopo Jenna is a choreographer, performer and filmmaker creating stage works, video pieces, and installations. The works are oriented towards research concerning the perception of dance or choreography as an extended practice. As a graduate of Sociology, he also studied dance in Codarts (Rotterdam Dance Academy). His work has been shown in festivals and institutions including Centrale Fies, Cango, MART, Contemporanea Festival, Pecci Center for Contemporary Art, Fabbrica Europa, CROSS International performance award.


Our gratitude for their kind cooperation go to Lycée Victor Hugo’s Headmaster Jean-Pierre Pinto, Elementary School Director Christian Zyla and teachers Fanny Pasteur, Celine Chabanet, Judith Daigle Doucet, Marine Droux and Marina Esposito.