In 1881, the Gran Ballo Excelsior, one of the most successful Italian dances of the 19th century, débuted 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.