We had the good fortune of connecting with Giada Matteini and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Giada, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
We were in lockdown because of the Covid-19 Pandemic; even though everything outside of my home was traumatic, bleak and dangerous, inside the home that I created with my son, I felt safe and grateful. As a survivor of domestic violence I felt very blessed to have a home full of love and light. I started researching the effects of the lockdown on women (and some men) who were dealing with violence and found out that domestic violence rates went up 30% worldwide, because now victims were asked to shelter in place with their oppressors and had a much harder time reaching the support they needed. The UN called this side-effect of the lockdowns “the Shadow Pandemic” and I could not stop thinking about it and what I could do to support the victims. For years, I had delved in topics of violence, mainly with own my creative work, as a way to speak against it (the violence) and giving myself the right to heal and reclaim my voice. Now I wanted my company to do the same and WADE was born as a women-led multifaceted performing arts company offering disparate points of entrance into social justice through education, performance, production and activism (the four (4) founding pillars of the company). The company wants to support women in the varied stages of their career and bring awareness to the many different kinds of violence they are subjected to using a global lens. “Across their lifetime, 1 in 3 women, around 736 million, are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner – a number that has remained largely unchanged over the past decade.” WHO (World Health Organization 9 March 2021 | Joint News Release GENEVA | NEW YORK).

WADE is an acronym for Wandering Avian Dance Experience: “The experience of flying seemingly across the ocean to land long enough to create and nurture life-long relationships through dance”. We believe that dance (and music and arts) has the power to connect and heal communities and the ability to really get people to sit up, look and listen to messages that other wise would pass them by.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Informed by my own troubled history with ballet, I strive to teach the classical technique as a form of resistance guided by love and compassion– a way of nurturing belonging by acknowledging our disidentifications with ballet’s rigid rules and prescription of gender normativity. My 30 years of on-going ballet research is rooted in debunking the idea of elitism in the art form, by nurturing the appreciation of the many shapes and sizes of the moving body, and of gender fluidity, with the intention to support the training of those who might feel marginalized in the studio. I speak about radical love and self-care for oneself in ballet class, in sensing and feeling the motion, not performing it for the sake of its quality, or of an outdated definition of beauty which applies to only the very few and forces us into narrow identities.

I also believe that the performing arts are the best tool to initiate important conversations about equity, social issues and to heal the world. I strive to galvanize artists and thinkers toward this collective action in an effort to find new creative solutions for global human rights violation issues.

Getting to where I am today professionally was not easy. I do not think that life is easy for anyone; we all have to endure many challenges, hurdles, heartaches, and injustices. But honestly what this company is teaching me is how to be grateful for all the bumps in the road that allowed me to create a platform that can elevate the important stories that need to be told, heard, seen, felt and moved by. My research is also reminding me that the world is full of amazing humans doing meaningful work for others; I choose to concentrate on their efforts to balance the daily horrors of the world we inhabit and that we are constantly reminded of.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Go to Central and West Harlem! Support the arts, cultures, and foods of this neighborhood!

Check out these Food Spots:
Sylvia’s, 328 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10027
Melba’s, 300 W 114th St, New York, NY 10026
Sugar Hill Creamery, 184 Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Avenue), New York, NY 10026
LA Sweets NY, 192 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10026
Chocolat Restaurant& Bar, 2223 Frederick Douglas Blvd @, W 120th St, New York, NY 10026

Check out these jazz clubs:
Room 623 | Harlem’s Speakeasy, 271 West 119 Street
Shrine, 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd
Ginny’s Supper Club, 310 Malcolm X Blvd
Cove Lounge, 325 Malcolm X Blvd

Check out the Apollo Theatre!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
To Cherylyn Lavagnino of Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance at https://www.cherylynlavagnino-dance.com/ for truly and fully seeing me for who I am and what I can offer.

Website: www.wadedance.org

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wade.dance/

Linkedin: Giada Matteini

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wadedance

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WADE.dance

Youtube: @wadedance

Image Credits
Federica Capo Ellen Crane Giada Matteini

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.