Pina Bausch was invited by the Mayor of Palermo, Sicily’s capital, to create a piece inspired by the city.

Palermo, Palermo is not overtly about the Mafia, the Sicily of antiquity or package tours, or the old native aristocracy. Nonetheless, it speaks of a walled-off society where silence is the code among its criminals.

Bausch’s use of international music from various periods, evokes Sicily’s role as the crossroads of ancient times. Moreover, the brick-strewn stage covered with the litter thrown by the dancers could be any modern piazza: the site of macho attitudes at which Pina Bausch takes aim without any need to dwell upon the obvious.

Palermo Palermo is an unexpectedly humorous but subliminally grim work set in a spectacular scenic context true to Pina Bausch’s style.

Premiere 17 December 1989 and is now performed at Sadler’s Wells as part of London 2012 Festival.

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