Tonight, at the Lincoln Center in New York, a new Italian ballet will take to the stage which features almost only leather costumes.
When the piece made its début in Milan two years ago, I wrote:
A Nabucco or Norma with leather costumes wouldn't raise an eyebrow, but a ballet? Boots and belts maybe, but tutus and frocks? This was the conceit behind The Cloak of the Dragon.
There is a good reason for this seemingly bizarre choice of material. Linea Pelle, world leaders in leather goods, have sponsored this ballet and they are hosting this private event at the Alice Tully Hall. Designer Erika Carretta has created costumes which are surprisingly light and flexible which is, presumably, exactly what Linea Pelle wanted to demonstrate. Beautifully designed projections make the backdrop for this children's tale set in a magic tannery.
Sabrina Brazzo is the one who gets to wear the cloak of the title. I asked her what it was like to be back dancing in New York.
To return to New York is great thrill and is, above all, very satisfying, because after years great success as Principal Ballerina at La Scala in Milan, I now return starring with my own company.
Brazzo formed the company, together with her husband and fellow La Scala dancer, Andrea Volpintesta, in 2012.
JAS ART Ballet is made up from a group of very talented young dancers, very different from each other, but they all have strong personalities. The creation of this enterprise demanded a great deal of sacrifice from us, but we have a great team of collaborators including the choreographer of this piece, Massimiliano Volpini, and Gianluca Culini's H!T Production.
We want the company to grow so that we can propose more shows in Italy and abroad.
Brazzo was promoted to Principal after interpreting the role of Giselle in Sylvie Guillem's version of the ballet. With this production, La Scala and Brazzo toured to City Center in New York as well as the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County, Los Angeles. Again, in New York, she played Gradisca in the ballet Amarcord at the Met.
New York has such a vibrant energy. It's an incredible place for an artist to work.
La Scala soloist Maurizio Licitra will be joining them on stage this evening, along with Luigi Campa, Stefania Mancini, Filippo Valmorbida and a small group of corps dancers. They hope that the New York date will mark the beginning of other occasions to present this work outside Italy. As Brazzo says,
It is such a beautiful piece and is suitable for everyone… even for those who know nothing about dance!
In bocca al lupo!
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.
Hello, so much enjoy receiving your emails filled with wonderful information on the arts.
I have searched all of Lincoln Center’s site and nothing shows up with this program featuring Sabrina Brazzo. Please advise when the performance will be as even if it’s a private event it would be shon on LC’s site.
Thank you again for sharing your passion for the arts with all of us through your excellent newsletter. Best regards, maria montas
Thank YOU dear Maria! The performance was last night (20 July). I imagine as it was a closed event, with a reception beforehand, it wasn’t advertised. I do know it went well! Thanks for being in touch.