In very hot Italian summer, travelling between Verona and Venice could reveal the tastes and manias of “the beautiful country” in the field of dance. In Verona, stormed by tourists this year more than ever, dance has a great tradition, as this writer remembers looking back at her childhood. At the Arena di Verona, you could admire the best of the then international dance scene, such as Maurice Béjart’s Ballet du XXème Siècle or classic ballets with stars like Rudolf Nureyev and Carla Fracci, Vladimir Vasiliev and Ekaterina Maximova, while at Teatro Romano more contemporary programs introduced companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater or Nederlands Dance Theater. Unfortunately, today the offering is as broad and is mainly Italian: the only ballet show scheduled at the Arena for the past decade has been the Roberto Bolle and Friends gala. (Granted, it has sold out every year, and is already announced for next summer on July 19, 2023.) While at Teatro Romano the dance program is focused on Italian contemporary dance. But we were lucky, staying two days in a row in Verona, to catch its two summer highlights, with the two most popular dancers in Italy: Eleonora Abbagnato, the eternal Juliet, and Roberto Bolle, the eternal gladiator.
Melissa Hamilton and Roberto Bolle in “Caravaggio” by Mauro Bigonzetti. Photograph by Andrej Uspenski