On December 2, and 3, 2011, I had the privilege to play in a performance of Not-Two Is Peace in Florence, Italy. Performed by the Florence Dance Company, and directed by Keith Ferrone and Marga Nativo, this event was inspired by my father's message and calling to the world.In Not-Two Is Peace, Adi Da calls us all to understand the principle of peace based on prior unity, dispelling the illusion of duality at every level of life, from "us" and "them", to "self" and "other". It is a message on many levels, from the outwardly social, to the philosophical and primally personal.
I was invited to compose and perform on the piano for a section of the dance, and it was a great honor to travel to Florence and participate in this production. For three weeks on Naitauba Island in Fiji, I worked on composing the piano score, sitting and combining with the ideas of "not-two", "light", and "prior unity", and working with how I could express those in music. It was both an intellectual, and a mindless feeling process. Not to mention a challenging one to complete in just a few weeks! Keith and I had a back and forth, from Fiji to Florence, sending audio files, and sharing ideas, as I composed, and he choreographed on opposite sides of the world.
The final dance, choreographed by Keith, had two halves. The first half was scored by the Florentine composer, Andrea Portera, and performed by the Ensemble Nuovo Contrappunto. The narrative of the dance followed a kind of tale of egoity, displaying the results of separation and tribalism in five unfolding stages. The figure of peace appeared, and was turned away, not accepted by the forces of individuation. When that path had reached its inevitable conclusion, a poignant still life was created around a one-of-a-kind sculpture by the late Florentine artist, Mario Mariotti.
In the second half, the dance was reborn with the unveiling of Adi Da's image "Not-Two Is Peace". Serena Ferrone, as the embodiment of peace, revealed the image, and continued to lead the final scenes. As the static image became projected, moving images of Adi Da's art came alive on the stage and walls of the theater, as I also came on stage to play the piano. The final section of the dance was a pure aesthetic expression of prior unity, nonduality, and peace.
Florence is one of my favorite cities in the world, and it was a surprise treat to be there during the season of holiday lights. As the final performance came to a close, the whole city seemed to light up. Every street had handmade lights and decorations strung between the buildings, and around the lampposts. Red and purple lights projected on the bridges, and giant trees were erected in front of the Duomo, and overlooking the city at Piazzale Michelangelo. It was a beautiful vision, and I have to wholeheartedly applaud the Florentine people for their spirit of light and celebration!
The intention with this dance is to develop it further for 2012, with a performance over the summer in the Bargello Museum. I look forward to this occurring, to coming back to this beautiful city, and to continuing to help bring the light of this message to the world in 2012.