The Gondola Project

July 11, 2003 & October 9, 2004 at Canale della Misericordia

The Gondola Project was a choreographed dance for some of Venice’s best-known residents—gondoliers. The dance investigated the rich history and contemporary work-life of the gondolier, and featured 8 gondoliers maneuvering their gondolas on a Venetian canal. Artistic Director Allison Orr spent over two years researching and preparing for the performance — getting to know gondoliers, taking rowing lessons, and slowly gaining access to the notoriously tight-knit gondolier community.

The performance premiered July 11, 2003 and was repeated again October 9, 2004 for an encore presentation. Enthusiastic audiences attended both performances, giving the gondoliers standing ovations at the dances’ conclusion. Struck by the beauty and grace of the gondolas and gondoliers, one audience member wrote, “There was no feeling that Venice was once again being “used” but in fact, that it was being celebrated and was receiving a gift…I sense, also, that the gondoliers were grateful to be giving something to their city.”

The dance was accompanied by original music by Italian composer Edoardo Arengi, and all of the participating gondoliers donated their time for the rehearsals and performance.


The Gondola Project received publicity in both Venetian newspapers and on Italian RAI-3 news. Check out the short documentary made about the The Gondola Project entitled “Cavaliers”.


The Gondola Project was sponsored by:

  • The Comune di Venezia/Assessore alla Pubblica Istruzione e all’Economato
  • Comune di Venezia/Assessorato al Turismo
  • Ente Gondola
  • Cooperativa Daniele Manin
  • Ristorante Antico Pignolo
  • Ristorante Al Colombo e la Mia Borsa
  • Bacaro Lounge Bar e Ristorante
  • Unione Sportiva Remiera Francescana
  • Consiglio di Quarterie no.1
  • Media Sound
  • Assocazione Il Posto