Friday, July 9, 2010

Stardate Log: 080710 Firenzied countdown to launch

Keith Ferrone introduces Stefano Maurizi

Dr Beatrice Paolozzi Strozzi and Marga Nativo

Yesterday hosted a conferenza stampa - not a gathering of philatelists as the foolhardy minus their Frommers might surmise, but a press conference.

It was held at the top of the broad and well-trodden staircase that leads from the Bargello's courtyard to its higher galleries of goodies.

To get there, you had to pass through 9/11 homeland-type screening equipment, though the easeful friendliness of the Bargello's welcome cancels out any sense of being in imminent danger. Its OK now - the gallows are gone. And other terror does seem miles away, as you open up to its sunny blend of arches and statuary .

If you lean gingerly over the wide naked stone parapet, the courtyard below is swarming in its now reinvented erection-of-scaffold-prior-to-big-events mode.

At the front table of the Press Conference was Dr. Beatrice Strozzi, Director of the Bargello Museum, Marga Nativo, co-Director of the Florence Dance Company, and Naamleela Free Jones, pianist and daughter of Artist Adi Da Samraj. Discussions were led by Keith Ferrone, Marga's other half and co-Director of the Florence dance Company. Stefano Maurizi, the principle pianist for spoke briefly about the artistic importance of, spanning many different artistic realms, Art, literature, Music, and Dance.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Precinct to Paradise - a heavenly host

From the next room drifts the electronic tinkly and flutey childlike charm of Pankow’s sound track to Paradiso. I can’t see the video screen where Diane is working on further integration of dance, music and Adi Da Samraj’s Image-Art, but my hair stands on end as I re-feel that night of the ante prima under the stars of Palazzuolo in a mountain cleft in the Alto Mugello of Tuscany‘s top right hand corner.

Though I hardly ever go to art galleries or concerts, through the dry heat of late Florentine afternoon this waft of melody has instantly dropped me into the simple contemplative space inhabited by all true art.

Magic broken now as the Duomo clanks out the hour when tourists must head home and the faithful to prayer. A cathedral is another art form that may be conducive to Transcendence.

But why should you come here? To breathe and live in its full magnificence inside the Bargello’s ancient stone heart and to feel more of the Divine in this extraordinary conjunction of art forms. The glowering, towering prison, grim near-neighbour to the faded candy of the Duomo, is being transformed by its own art collections and the perfomance art it hosts every summer. Atonement? May well be.

It feels like centuries of inflicted pain are being lightened and washed to happy by the annual visitation of Adi Da Samraj and Keith Ferrone’s Florence Dance. A Fijian and an Italian - both from New York.

Patterns have a habit of patterning. It was another Italian from near Florence who ‘discovered’ New York in the first place - nearly 500 years ago. Is it time for New York to return the favor?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hélène Tavernier sings Dante and Adi Da

Hélène Tavernier in 'out of town' pre-opening of '' Dante/Adi Da Samraj /Florence which took place on Friday night June 25th in Palazzuolo sul Senio, Italy.'s Inaugural Premier is on Monday July 12th at the Bargello National Museum in Florence beginning at 7:00pm with a special apperitivo reception prepared by the restaurateurs of Palazzuolo.

Hélène flew to Florence the day before the ‘ante prima’ opening at the Mugello Dance Festival in beautiful 'Palazzuolo sul Senio'. She had to fly out the next morning to another engagement back in France. International cooperation at work for

Her role was to compose and now to sing, variously in Italian, French and English, texts from Dante and Adi Da Samraj. A series of Images, created by American born Artist Adi Da Samraj, boldly accompanies the Dance and he based these on the ancient Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.

How did this native of Northern France, half of the duo ‘Angel Factory’, come to be involved in this mountain village production on the cusp of Adriatic and Aegean ?

Growing up in a family of classical musicians and learning ‘cello, her eclectic influences ranged from Gainsbourg to Gorillaz and Billie Holliday to William Blake, so when cello met computer, or more precisely, when Maurizio Fasolo of Pankow fame (the group providing Florence Dance with electronic music over recent years) heard her duo play live in Lille, Hélène was invited to listen, improvise, then set her vocal melodies to the pieces Maurizio had prepared for

Cut to Palazzuolo sul Senio, whose medieval history is host to our ante prima tonight, is some 500 metres above the crowded piazzas and mosquitoes of the Arno Valley and Florence. You reach it on the slow trans-Appennine railway to Ravenna via innumerable tunnels and a winding shuttle bus, finally arriving at the bridge over the stone-lined Senio. Welcome to cool fresh air. Welcome to walking pace. Welcome to football hooters… Italy is out of the World Cup !

Antepenultimate before ante prima
Under the watchful eye of the Captain’s Palace clock, chiming systematically at six minutes past the hour, techies have hoisted lights, image projectors and sound gear. Pythonic lighting cables clog the porch of the police station then snake around the scaffolded stage. Dancers in squeaky sneakers and chilly tops mark their moves, the calls of choreographer and lighting crew blend in and out of Maurizio‘s music…
Hélène drops her cosy blanket off stage, grasps the mic, her light voice floats on the dewy night air…

“…..Reality Itself Is Truth Itself Is the Beautiful Itself Is Reality Itself Is.....…”

Monday, June 7, 2010

Costume Designs For by Mirko Bottai

Mirko Bottai, who has participated in many important design projects around the world is a print designer for 'Emilio Pucci' and often travels to Milan and elsewhere to assist in important fashion events. He is the designer of the costumes for ''

How does he do it, I asked him. Of course the essence of the answer is in his imagination and talent, but from the outside the process looks like this:

He regularly attends the dancers’ rehearsals in the tiny and vibrant studio in the Borgo Stella across the Arno but a few minutes stroll from the Renaissance heavyweights of the centro storico, and home for many years to the Florence Dance Company. There he watches as the choreography comes to life, while listening to the recorded musicians and synchronizing with the laptop over in the corner as it moves through the colours, lines and shapes of Adi Da Samraj’s Orpheus Images that will be the 5 metre by 12 metre projected backdrops for over an hour and a half of delight. Book now! The mix of flowing music, fluid body movement and the moving genius of the computer art images one can surmise do a powerful cocktail-shake and stir in his creative cells and eventually emerge as another set of inspired designs.

So far he has been through Inferno and Purgatorio. Paradise is promised for next week !

Jokingly he remarks, maybe I need to visit all the churches in Florence (over 70 at last count) to pray for paradisiac inspiration ! Based on his impressive track record in the design world and now with the House of Emilio Pucci, he won’t need to!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rehearsals Saturday May 22

Saturday, 3 hours of rehearsals of Dante's Inferno and Purgatorio. Ruy and Naamleela attended. The dancers have been training for 5 hours a day during the last month. They are in excellent form and the rehearsals were amazing