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Aterballetto

"Jimi Jimi," "3D," and "Homage to Bach"

Museum of Musical Instruments, Rome, Italy

July 8, 2002
By Patrizia Vallone


Italy’s normally fine summer weather favors a plethora of open-air shows all over the country, of which a great number are dance performances. As far as Rome is concerned, thanks to the wealth of gardens in palazzi, villas and cultural centers, there is so much going on it’s just a question of having to choose.

Of course, we’re at the mercy of Jupiter the Rainmaker: if he’s in a bad mood, no show. That’s what happened on July 16: the most eagerly awaited performance of the “Invito alla Danza” festival — the San Carlo Theater’s Ballet Company, featuring soloists Viviana Durante and Giuseppe Picone — had to be cancelled due to two days of downpour.

On July 8, however, the weather was up to expectations, and the Aterballetto company was able to perform without a hitch and with great success in the gardens of the Museum of Musical Instruments (a little-known but extremely well-stocked museum, which I strongly recommend visiting if you’re in Rome for more than a couple of days).

Aterballetto, founded in 1979 and based in Reggio Emilia, offers a modern and contemporary repertoire that is very different and much more original than those of the large ballet companies run by the Italian opera theaters. It’s a small company, about twenty dancers in all, featuring no étoiles: everybody is a soloist.

Until recently, the company was directed by choreographer Amedeo Amodio; under his leadership, Aterballetto regularly danced Balanchine, Van Manen, Ailey, Tetley and Forsythe, as well as Amodio’s own creations.

In 1996 the company was put in the hands of Mauro Bigonzetti, a former Aterballetto dancer and now an internationally appreciated choreographer. He has created ballets for the English National Ballet, the Kirov Ballet and, more recently, the New York City Ballet.

On this particular evening, Aterballetto performed three Bigonzetti creations: Jimi Jimi, 3D and Homage to Bach.

Jimi Hendrix’s music and voice (including excerpts from an interview) are the base for Jimi Jimi: the choreography recreates the glamorous atmosphere surrounding the rock stars of the Seventies.

3D, set to music by David Byrne, is a long pas de trois, where the dancers alternately join and leave each other in a continuous sequence of tension and relaxation, contracted steps and large open movements.

Homage to Bach is a longer ballet which involves all the dancers of the company in solos, pas de deux, small and large groups, or all together. The Bach music includes selections from his Passions, masses, piano pieces played by Glenn Gould and a version for accordion.

Bigonzetti’s style is an interesting mix of contemporary dance and classical ballet; his movements are broken, contracted, nervous; there is much use of points, but not in an academic way. The dancers must be very gifted to dance these complicated choreographies adequately. The Aterballetto dancers are all really excellent; they have good technique and very expressive bodies.

A very satisfying performance indeed, rewarded by a well-deserved applause.

 

Please join a discussion of this performance in our forum.

Edited by Marie.


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