May 13, 2014 21:00
Birth-cry of a duo-company which would continue so variously to probe the theme of relations with another, Terramara was, to say the least, a successful exploit. With its classical Bach echoes and the dense weave of ethnic music overtones from Hungary, India, Romania and Sicily, it was a marvellously promising first authorial trial. An hour of great, almost virtuoso, skill flowed out -heedless of those who still focused mostly or only on choreography from other countries. It was never in any way simply an end to itself; indeed, it delicately sought to stress the quintessential characteristics of the Mediterranean spirit that is our speciality, something to re-discover today.
Born as two people’s reflection on passing time, on its ancient traces and on the complexity of the bond between two beings of the opposite sex who meet to create new life and recreate themselves, Terramara already made full use of all the meanings and symbols hidden in the title, Bitter Earth. A love story in dance: for sixty minutes, originally and unusually, the most vital and secret sentiment of two lovers in their daily routine, in the communal time of work, emanated from the pièce. And that is the reason for the baskets of oranges to empty and fill, the sheaves of straw to load and move across the imaginary space of sun-drenched fields, during the harvest months. Within nature, bucolically rediscovered as in no other pièce of the time, they danced their desire to find in bitter and fatiguing labour the rhythm of time of earth’s laws, and so the original rhythms of the union between male and female.
Hundreds of oranges scattered over the stage could not here be a mere explicit tribute to theatredance from Pina Bausch’s naturalistic stage-sets, but the need for colour/warmth capable of triggering gestures and looks to pour out towards the audience in an emotional embrace.
The 2013 reconstruction of Terramara also turns on this expressive, dramatic swelling emanating from a dance however formal. It is now danced by two young people chosen from the Veneto basin and directed by the original choreographers. Like the previous Italian cornerstones of the RIC.CI, its rebirth is certainly not pure archaeology but the exemplary new regeneration of a pièce that is as generous in its choreographic tissue, in its construction – also musical – as in its orange-tinted physicality.