To Marco Bozzato, the sparkling les étoiles are those bewitched by stage light blanketing bodies in technicolor glow. They sport fabrics in hues of pink, soft cotton leg warmers crawl along their calves, and their limbs stretch toward the light like flowers.
Starting at the age of four, Marco’s desire to dance seemed to follow him everywhere as if it had always lived in his coat pocket. When he’s not on stage, music trails him like his very own shadow. He always carries a pair of earphones as he tells me, “I am never without music." He spins around in his sunbathed apartment to melodies that kiss his ear drums. “I love disco and house. I love music that has rhythm and makes you want to dance, songs like that have so much power and meaning." He tells me about Qveen Herby and his love for female rappers. Rhythm seems to pull him into an endless ocean with no shoreline in sight. But he isn’t afraid of being lost at sea.
Marco’s big heart and boyish smile melts away any nerves I had like warm chocolate glaze on a fluffy croissant while we chat over Zoom. He recently moved to Paris, and he speaks about the city as if it’s a person he’s slowly falling in love with. He describes the streets to be filled with hauntingly beautiful architecture that emulates a gothic gloom leaving passersby wondering if they met a ghost. He explains, “there’s that sadness that I love. I'm such a melancholic boy. When it rains here it’s like I’m sad but I’m sad in Paris." He adores the city’s flaws and quirks. He's found a place of belonging as he says, “here I am allowed to show my real self." He struts around the city in his leather boots, his “signature look." The art of self-exploration - the marking of a signature - lines his being like the hairs on his arms.
If Marco could have a conversation with his younger self, he would want to communicate “the importance of believing in yourself” as he says, “if you feel like something is right for you, keep going your way. Listen to yourself, instead of the others." He is a visual storyteller who radiates his own narrative through his performances. He hopes his performance sparks little fires of creativity in the hearts of his viewers - “I want people to leave the theatre feeling inspired.”
When I asked Marco what he wanted people to know about him, he said “I wish that people knew that I am a human being just like everyone else. I have feelings, I have problems, I have ideas." Photographed by Julia Romanovskaya, Marco’s soul shines as he hands out red roses to strangers beside the river. He’s a spot of warm sun on a rainy day. Hidden in between the fibres of glittering costumes and under layers of stage makeup, there is the little boy within him who is full of dreams. His love for dance wanes above the people of Paris like the full moon, filling the soaked cobblestone streets with an iridescent magic.