Pulcinella by Nuovo Balletto di Toscana is a refreshingly new take on a classical masterpiece

Nuovo Balletto di Toscana - Pulcinella

Pulcinella, presented by Nuovo Balletto di Toscana, is the new work by Arianna Benedetti, created with the dramaturgical collaboration of Andrea Di Bari, based on the music of Igor Stravinsky and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi.

 Pulcinella proposes a contemporary reinterpretation of the masterpiece of the Ballets Russes. In this astonishing and extremely immersive piece, identity and memory intertwine, in a continuous combination of tradition and innovation.

The show as a whole alludes to the normal vicissitudes of life, highlighting the contradictions of the human being; a famous character of the popular culture is evoked – Pulcinella – an eternal figure of the human comedy in which two divergent forces coexist, the corporeal one, which tends to the low and the ground, and the aerial spirit, that aims at lightness and grace.

The opening scene sees a woman emerging from a dark cube, breaking free from the motionless group, she softly crawls on the floor with a sinuous and delicate motion, marking the beginning of a curious set of encounters whose characters are involved in intricate relations, a love adventure emphasized by reluctance, deceit and irony.

There are multiple vignettes played out: Pulcinella’s love for Pimpinella which evolves into a pax-de-deux with the entire female universe; the game, synonymous with freedom and joy of life, which leads Pulcinella to challenge Death, until it is defeated; the irony and disenchantment that Pulcinella expresses towards human events.

The choreography features a mix of duets and group performances, skillfully alternated; dancers interact with a cube from which they enter and exit in a compact and synchronized way, able to pass easily from short and quick gestures to wide and quiet steps. Their bodies move with exquisite grace and control through the intense and tough sequences; there are moments of stillness and reflective calm, the flow of the performance alternates supple and soft gestures with broken and continuous movements. No theatrical frills, no expensive design, just bodies engaged in passionately intelligent dialogue with music and emotions.

The dance language is joyful and articulated, of classical inspiration, impregnated with contemporary elements and even street dance, while the immense expressivity of all dancers of the Nuovo Balletto di Toscana is striking. Their extraordinary scenic awareness and clear mastery, enhanced by the spectacular smoothness of style is incredible. Pulcinella is an intense show, that makes difficult for the spectator to look away from the stage.

Pulcinella is part of Danza in Rete Festival, a dance festival promoted by Fondazione Teatro Comunale Città di Vicenza and Fondazione Teatro Civico di Schio. Committed to promote dance in all its ways, the Festival takes place between the cities of Vicenza and Schio, in theatres and outdoor spaces.

Reviewed at Teatro Comunale Città di Vicenza