In 1881, the Gran Ballo Excelsior, one of the most successful Italian dances of the 19th century, debuted at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. These were crucial years for the affirmation of modern European culture and identity; years characterised by the industrial revolution and colonial imperialism, the triumph of science, the struggle between civilisation and the barbarity of obscurantism.
If these themes across the entire structure of the Gran Ballo, it can be understood why Salvo Lombardo, heading the company Chiasma, has chosen to use it as a point of reference for his new production. Commencing with the ballet, in fact, the Italian choreographer and dancer constructs a performance aimed at questioning the current concept of modernity.
His Excelsior appears as a container of narratives that frame the European political and social situation through the specific lens of the representation of the body and the exoteric imaginaries that the present proposes once more through its languages, images and media. The result is a choreographic score that grinds movements and music together, returning them to the present as traces of a past that is closer than we may think.
Salvo Lombardo is an Italian perfomer, coreographer and director who bases his work on a constant research of a relation between theatre, dance and visual art together with his work group Chiasma. His creations were presented in the main Italian festivals and theatres. In 2015-2016 he was resident choreographer at Anghiari Dance Hub where he worked on the project Casual Bystanders based on a choreographic pattern representing an archive of “not-extraordinary” gestures proceeding from kinetic fragments of common people observed in public places. In 2017-18 he was one of the associated artists of the Festival Oriente Occidente, main co-producer of the performance Present Continuous inspired by a memory system of gestures which stem from a night’s work at a music club and also the interactive installation in augmented reality titled Reappearances conceived for the MART Museum of Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto. In 2017 he was guest choreographer at Aura Dance Theatre of Kaunas (Lithuania) for which he created the performance Twister studying the relationship between gestures memory, play and sociality. In 2018 he won the call Lavanderia a Vapore 3.0 Choreographic residencies and worked on the projects L’esemplare capovolto and Excelsior. He created Bodies Memories in the framework of the project Crossing the sea, while Opacity was selected at NID, New Italian Dance Platform. He was a member of the jury for the prize DNAppunti coreografici. He is a founder and co-founder of Resurface_festival and is the creator of Under 35 Italian Alliance. Since 2020 he has been an associated artist and guest curator for the Lavanderia a Vapore in Collegno (Turin).
concept, choreography, direction: Salvo Lombardo
performance: Jaskaran Anand, Cesare Benedetti, Lucia Cammalleri, Leonardo Diana, Fabritia D’Intino, Giuseppe Vincent Giampino, Daria Greco
coreographic collaboration: Daria Greco
cultural advisor: Viviana Gravano
music: Fabrizio Alviti
light and video design: Daniele Spanò and Luca Brinchi
movie contribution: Isabella Gaffè
video Homo Homini Lupus: Filippo Berta
costumes: Chiara Defant
technicians: Maria Elena Fusacchia, Luca Giovagnoli, Gabriele Termine, Loris Giancola
production: Associazione Culturale Chiasma, with the support of MiBAC – Ministero Beni e Attività Culturali
co-production: Théâtre National de Chaillot, Paris, Festival Oriente Occidente, Rovereto; Festival Fabbrica Europa, Firenze, Romaeuropa Festival, Roma; Versiliadanza, Firenze
in collaboration with Teatro della Toscana / Pontedera Teatro, ACS Abruzzo
within the project Residenze coreografiche Lavanderia a Vapore 3.0 / Piemonte dal Vivo
[photos: Carolina Farina]
September 1, 2018 | Oriente Occidente – Auditorium Melotti, Rovereto (Italy)
October 20-21, 2018 | Romaeuropa – Teatro Vascello, Rome (Italy)
April 3-4, 2019 | Teatro Vittorio Emanuele, Messina (Italy)
September 12-13, 2020 | Fabbrica Europa – Teatro Cantiere Florida, Florence
October 1, 2020 | Festival MilanOltre, Milano
October 15-17, 2020 | Théâtre Nationale de la Danse Chaillot, Paris