A production by ACworkroom from Alina Cojocaru, created in Orsolina 28. Choreography by Natalia Horecna. Premiere in Sadler's Wells (January 2024).

“Everything has a purpose, even this pebble”, Il Matto declares to heroine Gelsomina in Federico Fellini’s 1954 film La Strada. World-famous ballerina Alina Cojocaru’s first original commission as a producer of dance is a heartbreaking, but life-affirming look in to people’s souls, even if they do unspeakable things.

Internationally renowned choreographer Natália Horečná’s physically arresting movement alongside designer Otto Bubeniček’s evocative designs illustrate the story of childlike Gelsomina, thrust away from the safety of her home to live an itinerant life alongside the brutish circus performer Zampanò. Exposed to a harsh reality, Gelsomina’s unconscious goodness is her solace as she finds a kindred spirit in benevolent Il Matto, only to bear witness to his callous demise. In Cojocaru’s words, it is Gelsomina’s “choice of what glasses to wear to see the world that is what breaks her heart”.

Set to the poignantly timeless music of Nino Rota’s film scores, this major new dance work muses on how we choose to perceive the world and our place within it. Life, represented by the road of Fellini’s title, is full of complexities: hope, terror, the sacred, the profane, dirt, joy and curiosity. How we navigate through all this is a matter for our spirit – our essence – to contend with.