“You must understand that you are another world in miniature,
and that there is in you sun and moon and also stars.”
It's certainly unusual to kick off a press release about a dance show with a quote from a third-century Christian scholar.
Simonetta Allder, head of the press office for Daniele Cipriani Entertainment, usually surprises with her original, thought-provoking and often wry comments as she comments on the shows she's promoting.
The quote is taken from the writings of Origenes, the Alexandrian theologian and Biblical scholar. Allder ties this in with the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Why? Well the rock opera SHINE Pink Floyd Moon, with choreography by Micha van Hoecke, looks not just to the familiar, silvery moon, but also to its dark side. The dark side of the moon, the unknown, the shadowy world of lunacy, a word coined in the 16th century when insanity was linked to the moon's phases.
The next performance is on 5 September in Verona's Teatro Romano, the atmospheric open-air amphitheatre on the river. The moon will have just entered its first quarter, so there's no risk of encountering howling wolves on the way out.
Van Hoecke's point of departure was the song Shine on You Crazy Diamond in which the British rock band Pink Floyd paid tribute to its former member, and founder, Syd Barrett, who was ousted from the group in 1968 due to his drug use and related mental health issues. The work was largely born out of guilt. Barrett's excessive use of psychedelic drugs, for which he was hospitalised, led him to leave the music industry in 1972, and he lived as a recluse until his death in 2006.
In 1974 Pink Floyd performed Shine on You Crazy Diamond for the first time, but before this, on their legendary album The Dark Side of the Moon, they had already touched on the theme of mental health – the title refers to a journey into insanity, not outer space.
The band's other massive hit, 1979's The Wall, features a depressed, disturbed character called Pink, inspired by Barrett, who builds a metaphorical wall around himself.
In SHINE, Syd is played by Denys Ganio, the former principal dancer of Roland Petit's Ballet National de Marseille. Ganio performed Petit's own Pink Floyd Ballet many times; it was with this work that Petit opened his new dance company in 1972. In 1973 Ganio was dancing when, for four performances, Pink Floyd accompanied the ballet live. Here the live music is thrillingly performed by the group Pink Floyd Legend under the direction of Fabio Castaldi.
Pink Floyd was formed in 1965 when choreographer van Hoecke was twenty-one – it's the music of his youth.
It's music that in the popular imagination is connected to the youngster in all of us.
My autobiography – says Van Hoecke – also tells the story of every man. The story of our lives that cyclically advance with a circular movement like that of music, of the dance of the stars, of the rotation of the moon – a movement punctuated with the continual process of birth-death-rebirth. Life is the stuff that “dreams are made on”, as Shakespeare wrote; the warp and the weft, continually unpicked to be rewoven.
SHINE is a work steeped in hope, where fantasy becomes the weapon to fight the materialism that permeates our world, perverting power and purpose.
The new work was created for the Daniele Cipriani Company and will be seen at various open-air summer festivals before an Italian tour until March 2020.
SHINE Pink Floyd Moon
Choreography: Micha van Hoecke
Live music performed by Pink Floyd Legend
Costumes: Anna Biagiotti
Lights: Caso Alessandro
Sound: Maurizio Capitini
Laser show: Riccardo Berti
5 September 2019 – Teatro Romano, Verona
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.