One of the most extraordinary aspects of “L’Altra Meta del Cielo,” from the La Scala Ballet, which was screened live from Milan’s magnificent Teatro Alla Scala, was the expressive faces of the performers.
Offered as a gift from Italy Sunday afternoon for the Ballet in Cinema series at the Cranford Theater, the revealing contemporary ballet, whose English name is “The Other Side of the Sky,” in four parts, was presented within a background of Italian music and words.
It mattered little for those in the audience who didn’t understand the language of the beautiful musical words because the exquisite faces, particularly that of the very talented Sabrina Brazzo, as Albachiara, expressed every extreme emotion known to humanity.
The very lovely Brazzo, in fact, was given the opportunity to reveal to her audience, by way of facial and body movements, every iota of which she was capable. Her exceptional dancing matched her thrilling facial movements, and in one scene, even had the audience gasping at the length of time she was able to dance on her toes. Physically, Brazzo has an incredible stretch, and her swiftness carried her in flight across a hugely empty room on stage, where the only furniture was a sofa.
But before long, the room contained a singular bed, and a simple wooden chair. These props were utilized throughout by the entire cast.
Brazzo’s final moments on the stage, during which tears constantly flowed from her lovely eyes, were retained when she took her numerous bows.
Powerfully choreographed by the American theater director, Martha Clarke, in collaboration with Vasco Rossi, an aging Italian rock star, who also provided the dramaturgy, “L’Altra Meta del Cielo” was photographed in 87 minutes on April 5, with no intermission at a theater in Italy that resembled the inside of a castle and boasted of six enormous balconies.
This unusual contemporary ballet, in four parts, attempts to uplift female identity rather than denigrating it. It explores the universe of three different types of women and the important moments in their lives: The English translations are: adolescence, maturity, growth and abandonment.
The story idea may be a bit jumbled and confusing, but the performances nevertheless are wonderfully appealing. And between riotous dancing and intimate lovemaking — there is a brief moment of half-nudity — and an occasional emulation of the sexual act in dance, appropriately so, the audience continues to be transfixed.
Consequently, the attention is focused on the women: Albachiara, Susanna and Silvia, excellently portrayed by Brazzo, Beatrice Carbone and Stefania Ballone, and their eager and physical men, Claudio, Mario and Fabio, played by Andrea Volpintesta, Antonino Sutera and Matteo Gravazzi, are subsequently transformed into different characters. Even the songs are transformed, such as “Anima Fragile” into “Incredible Romantica,” “Brava” into “Brava Giulia,” and “Gabri” into “Delusa.”
The entire cast “Un Senso” enhanced this Italian production, which offered a whole new creative approach to contemporary ballet. It should have attracted more ballet enthusiasts to the Cranford Theater. Hopefully, more people will attend the theater’s next approach to ballet excellence.
It is well worth the experience, especially when visiting such far off places of ballet from right here in New Jersey.