Neapolitan dancer Giuseppe Picone is the leading dancer in a new ballet, Blue Moon, at Verona's Teatro Romano from August 18 – 21. He talked to the newspaper L'Arena:
In this show, he explains, he interprets “a classical dancer who, at the end of the ballet, goes to the Blue Moon club to ‘find himself'. He lets himself be drawn into the rhythms of the club where he dances to an adagio by Mozart: this is the atmosphere of the evening, a couple at each table in the club, and each couple has its own dance”.
And he mentions a surprise finale…
At the end there is something which involves the audience.
The choreographer, Maria Grazia Garofoli [director of the Arena of Verona ballet company], says that Blue Moon is technically difficult for its complexity of movement. Picone agrees,
The Arena dancers and I are classically trained, but in a night club that won't do, we have to lean towards modern dance and convey a more commercial flavour, but without falling into the trap of vulgarity. It's a fine line!
I was a guest last year in Dancing with the Stars on television, and it didn't exceed that line. The classical style needs to be respected, though we can maybe slightly blur its edges.
So what must we see?
I would like that the audience understands that it is classical dance that they're seeing. The classics too can be touched upon, but with respect and class.
The poise that a ballet dancer has, to give the audience something extremely precise and elegant.
And what do you want us not to see?
The effort. There is a great deal of effort involved, but it shouldn't be evident on stage.
What are your interpretive limits within your classical schooling?
The dancer Picone is like a diamond with many different faces, who doesn't only dance the classical repertory: inside he has many different styles.
You dance on many of the world's most important stages – what unifies these experiences?
The technique and the sacrifice. After a while your technique becomes universal. Every company has its own way of dancing: the English elegance, the American speed, the Russian strength.
How is classical dance in Italy today?
Italy was one of the first countries to see dance emerge, and there is great potential, but unfortunately there isn't the political will to encourage excellence in dance as there is abroad; it is the Cinderella that we're always chasing. I'm grateful to Francesco Girondini [director of the Arena of Verona opera and ballet] for the opportunities and the concerted effort that will bring further projects in the near future.”
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.