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MadonnaTribe is proud to present its readers the first ever interview dancer, director and choreographer Luca Tommassini gave to a Madonna News Site. We had the chance to chat with Luca about how he ended up involved in many amazing Madonna projects such as The Girlie Show, Evita, the Human Nature video and the Bedtime Story live performance at the 1995 Brit Awards.
But Luca did not share his talents with Madonna only, the list of international stars with whom he worked with in the past years is huge, counting Kylie Minogue, Geri Halliwell and Paola&Chiara just to name a few.
And now, Ladies & Gentlemen... MadonnaTribe meets Luca Tommassini!


MadonnaTribe: Ciao Luca and welcome to MadonnaTribe. Our readers know you for your collaborations with Madonna in many of her works and projects in the 90's, The Girlie Show probably being the first one that comes to mind.
But by reading your resume or taking a look at your reels, it strikes the fact that you're active in a lot of different fields, from choreography to artistic and video directions, and how your name is linked to an incredible number of Italian and international stars.

All this started when you entered show business when you were only eleven years old and when, at sixteen, you moved to the US to study dance.
In some way you were already a multi-tasking artist since the beginning - do you think it was only by chance that you ended up starting as a dancer?

Luca Tommassini: God's ways are endless and apparently ours are too... I could choose to be a dancer when I was nine years old, my mother didn't have the same opportunity. I think you need a lot of luck but most of all you have to work hard and study.

Maybe there's a destiny already written for you but I always like to challenge that destiny. I like to think I can write my own path. I like to change, challenges make you wake up in the morning with so much energy and enthusiasm. I keep on dreaming and this is the most important thing.

: December 2006 marked the tenth anniversary of the release of Alan Parker's Evita. You took part to one of the most important scenes in the cinematic version of the musical, dancing an energetic tango with Madonna during the song Buenos Aires. Legend says Madonna insisted she wanted you to fly over to Argentina to dance with her in that scene.
How did things really happen?

Well the truth is... Madonna was pregnant and that scene had the most elaborate choreography. She had to work really hard. Coreographer Vince Paterson and Madonna herself wanted me in the movie because they knew they could trust in me. I danced with Madonna for years and they knew I would have protected and took care of her. Vince also knew Madonna and I can dance very well together and that I could easily pass for an Argentine man in the film. And let me straight the fact we shot that scene in London, not in Argentina and that I will never forget that period...
The thing is, I was almost becoming bold. I used to have platinum blond hair with dark edges for a major tv show I was doing in the week-end in Italy called Buona Domenica. In Evita I had to have dark hair so when the tv show was over I used to leave for London (I did it for three consecutive weeks). As soon as I got to London I had to dye my hair black. At first I simply tried to get away with it using a black colouring spray but on the first day of rehearsals Madonna got upset because when we danced and we were sweating a lot I had this black colouring thing coming down from my hair. It was really embarassing, thank God we were good friends.
Then when I came back to Milan for the Italian tv show I had to have blond hair again. The last week I didn't go blond again as my hair was completely burnt, I could not even wash it and when I touched it there were pieces of hair on my hand... a disaster!


MT: What other memories you have of the Evita film set?

LT: It was very exciting and very hard, especially as M was four months pregnant and nobody had to knew about it at that time.
So she had to wear bands to contain her stomach and she had to dance for tweleve hours a day with high heels, make up, wigs and fake teeth on. I remember we used to hug each other a lot, because she was very tired and she leaned on me. She was very sweet.

MT: Is it hard to dance a frantic tango like the one in Buenos Aires? The couple should really show "it takes two to tango"...

LT: Well there's often confusion about tangoing in Evita.
I didn't exactly danced a tango, but a mix of tipical dances of that era. - a mix of different styles. Vince did an incredible research and wanted to include in Buenos Aires a lot of different styles. The thing that is really tyring is that in cinema you have to shoot the same scene different times, for the different angles and so you have to repeat the same scene endless times and you have to do it in the same exact way each and every time...
But I would have repeated it for a full week, I was so happy to be there.


MT: As Madonna was expecting Lola did the production take special precautions on the set or for dancing scenes? Was she calm in regard to the situation?

: No, she wasn't calm at all... and she could not even show it.

: Your appearance on Evita also brought you an Italian Music Award as best dancer, what did you feel when you found out you won that award?

LT: I remember I felt very emotional that night. I think it was one of the first prizes I won.

MT: Evita arrived in 1996 but your collaboration with Madonna started in 1993 with the Girlie Show. What do you remember about auditioning for the first time for Madonna?

LT: I was called at the audition by my agent in Los Angeles - back then I used to live there all the time.
There were a thousand people auditioning there and later all the dancers that were called back from the auditions in New York and Miami joined us as well.
I honestly didn't have the hope to be among the chosen ones but I put all my efforts in that audition. There's a dance prize given in Los Angeles for Best Audition and that year I won for my Madonna audition.For each audition I used to completely transform my image e I did a lot of them. I used to change my attitude and also the colour of my hair and hairstyle if necessary. In that occasion I turned myself into a Sex Boy Toy.
The SEX box was just out so I figured she was looking for something similar, SM look black leather, rivets and knee-long boots. Everything was fine until Madonna asked us to each tell a joke. This happened near the end, when there was twenty of us left and I HATE telling jokes. I was so desperate that in the end I had to admit I haven't got the talent to tell jokes. I was panicking and my mind was blank. In that moment I thought she hated me. Everybody telling jokes except me. But after a couple of hours we left the audition I received a phone call from the assistant choreographer informing me that I had been chosen as dance captain... I couldn't believe it... I remember the first person I called was my mother.


MT: We recently spoke with Italian singer Chiara Iezzi, who knows you well and who also is a huge Madonna fan, and she thinks you're the only one in Italy who has had such a unique experience with Madonna and the on the Girlie Tour stage the audience could feel she was very fond of you. What do you think about it?

We started to love each other right from the very start, I don't know why but there was this great feeling right away with both her and her brother Christopher.
I remember that year I spent the first Christmas with them, they are beautiful persons and we got along very well. Sometimes things are more simple than what they seem.

MT: Is there a number in the Girlie Show that you liked the most and you're most fond of?

LT: I loved La Isla Bonita, I adored the song and the choreography by Alex Magno, he is one of the most talented teachers I ever had... but most of all the song meant M and I each night... looking in each other's eyes and even if we were in front of thousands of people it was the most intimate moment of the show for me... that moment was pure love... such a powerful energy... her charisma. I will never forget those looks, those eyes.

MT: While speaking of Madonna tours I wanted to ask you if you had a chance to see two more recent shows, the re-Invention and Confessions tours.

LT: Yes of course, I always go to see her when she performs live. I think that the quality of production is always flawless. Sometimes I didn't agree on the setlist of songs, other times I found her a bit too cold, but I can only bow in front of Madonna, she is number one.


MT: In 1994 you were chosen as one of the two platinum blond "twins" for the famous Bedtime Story performance at the Brit Awards. Speaking with Jamie King a while ago he told us that he was the one that suggested your name because he thought you would have been the perfect choice for that performance.
What do you remember of that episode? It may not be one of the most well known Madonna television appearances but it definetly had something special.

LT: It was indeed a very unique performance. I love the fact I could use Thai Chi movements and that we were dancing in slow motion. Madonna was so beautiful and it was another great experience for me. I learned a lot from her. There's always a great research in the things she does, to bring novelty on stage. Things are analyzed and there's always a great courage and that's contageous. You always feel like a pioneer when you're next to her... Invincible!

MT: Then the next year you took part as a dancer to Human Nature, and you were also assistant choreographer in the video.
What do you remember about the creative process behind that amazing project?

LT: You you, everywhere I go in the world, that's something that comes up again and again. Everybody likes that video. It's the video that people love the most, but we lived it as a simple video. To tell the truth it was also a low budget video for Madonna at the time. But this only underlines the concept that when an idea is strong it does leave a mark. I was involved from the beginning and I followed it step by step.
Putting together the choreographies was a bit complicated but we also had a lot of fun. Using those ropes in rehearsals we ended up tied to each other a whole lot of times. Then while we were shooting a thousand things happened. That video was the turning point for all the videos that followed. There are some genious ideas there and still today it's being taken as a reference.


MT: And how was working with that huge talent that is Jean Baptiste Mondino?

I was already a big fan of Mondino since Justify My Love. When Madonna told me that he was going to be the director of Human Nature I had shivers. It was like a dream to me. He's one among the greatest and always will be.

MT: Besides Madonna you worked with an amazing number of international artists and with most of the Italian talents that are particularly careful to the presentation of their image. I noticed that in many cases you accompanied these artists in their careers with repeated and constant collaborations. I think of Geri, Kylie, Paola&Chiara, just to name a few. Is there a reason why these people are so professionaly fond of you?

: I don't know why it happens, maybe you should ask them.
I'm a bit a workaholic, I love it and it's my air, my drug. If I decide to do something I go ahead untill my goal it's accomplished... I like to be a revolutionary, make people think, analysing to optimize, I'm in the middle of everything and I put everything in discussion.


It's something that I've always been doing with myself. I give myself completely and I like to take out what's inside the artists and not forcing them to endorse things that come from me. I like them to show something that they have never shown. Maybe that's the reasons we get so fond of each other, I don't know...

: I'm sure you're very fond of all your "creatures", be them choreographies, directions, artistic directions and your recent shows and musical.
But is there one you cherish the most, for some special reason?

LT: I don't like to re-watch the things I did over and over again... especially the ones where I was dancing or acting... like any other artists I end up paying attention to all the things I wasn't doing well, to my mistakes and thinking about everything it could have been and was not... it's like a curse! I really would like to feel what the audience feels when they see one of my works for the first time... but we are not allowed to, each time I do something it becomes a part of me and it will remain with me forever.

MT: And is there an artist you worked with you are particularly fond of?

LT: Through the years I learned that the "big ones" are also "big" in their real lives. I found out that the most they are great, the most they are humble... there may be some ones who end up disappointing you, but luckily they are only a few...
Unfortunately one of my weak points is that of falling in love with the people I work with, deeply. You share so may emotional feelings that you end up building a strong, inner bond with all of them.

MT: After working a lot abroad you've been brought back in your mother country by several projects. What are your views on the state of the art in Italian show business - are there still differences between working in your country as a professional compared to places like the States or the UK?

: This is something that really makes me mad. People is often confused and they think American artist are better than us. The truth is that in the American show business budgets are way bigger and that gives the opportunity to put together more expensive productions and the result is easily better. But I can assure you that we are pushed to become more creative because of the low budget problem. We have to invent things because often we don't have mediums.
It is true though that art academies are better there but here we can count on talents that are appreciated all over the world.


MT: Your first musical, a new production of Sweet Charity, is a huge success in Italy and its star Lorella Cuccarini, the whole cast and yourself really deserve this. How does it feel to experience a series of incredible sold outs in a country where the musical is considered as a emerging genre?

Working with Lorella has been a great pleasure. I always say she's the most "easy" one to work with.She's a huge talent. I'm so happy of the experience I've shared with a marvelous cast that each night conquers the public with their impressive energy.
Sweet Charity was the first musical by Bob Fosse and I'm a huge fan of his work and of him as a person...


And it is also my first musical and by the way my favourite one... Sweet Charity was a turning point in the art of coreography, Bob Fosse swept away all the classic stereotypes and created a style that is still inspiring nowadays... And this musical is also a turning point for myself, for many different reasons...

At the moment I am working on three different stage shows in Italy only, all having a huge success. There's Sweet Charity and also Sola Me Ne Vo with Mariangela Melato and Volevo Fare Il Ballerino with Fiorello and you can easily tell how lucky I am for working with these artists that besides being all number ones on their own they also are wonderful human beings.

: Which projects are you working on at the moment and what's coming up from you in the near future?

LT: I am working on another show that will debut at the Teatro Argentina in Rome this month with Gabriele Lavia, Shakespeare's Measure for Measure...

Then I have lots of videoclip directons on the way like Coolio with his song Dip It and the one for Francesco and Roby Facchinetti's song Vivere Normale that I just completed.
I will also be directing Emanuel Lo with Woofer, Yaya with Infiammabile, Peter Andre and Katie Price in A Whole New World.
I'm also working on the film Come Tu Mi Vuoi.

But one of the most important projects I have is Milano Rockin' Fashion with MTV.
We will be doing this in Milan on May 31st. I'm also putting together a marvelous Circus!

: Is there something in the show business you haven't tried yet and that you would like to approach in the near future?

Yes, I hope I can soon direct a film. In September I will direct my first short movie based on the true story of a boy who had cancer when he was twenty.
His name is Fabio Salvatore and he's an actor so he will be re-acting his own story in the film along with other actors.

MT: Going back for a second to your Madonna collaborations, is there something in her that sets her apart from all the other artist you have collaborated with in all these years?

LT: Well we all know which are her good and bad sides. I can only say that what makes her the greatest is strangely her simplicity. I've always thought that among all the stars from the 80's she is the only one who succeded in staying close to the people. She kept communicating with them because she is a person and she doesn't live in her own myth, unlike many other stars from the 80's who started getting away from reality more and more.

MT: Is there something you learned from the time you worked with her that enriched you at a personal or professional level?

LT: A lot of things did, I learned a lot from her, but the main thing is that there's no limit to what you can do, if you want something you can achieve it.


MT: Luca, we often end our interviews by asking our guests what's the fondest memory of Madonna they have.
Can we ask the same thing to you?

LT: My fondest memory of Madonna goes right back to the time of Evita, when we went shopping one day and Madonna felt asleep in the car with her head on my shoulder... that was so sweet.

MT: Thank you so much for sharing this time with us Luca, and all the best for all the things you're working on!

For more info about Luca Tommassini, his biography, his amazing resume and his professional reels please visit

Note: This interview has been translated into English from Italian by the Madonna Tribe team.
You can access the original Italian version with Luca's own words by clicking here.

Sweet Charity, by Saverio Marconi and Luca Tommassini: photo by Antonio Agostini, courtesy of La Compagnia della Rancia.
This interview © 2007 Madonna Tribe.


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