Andrea Loreni, a tightrope walker in Milan
For the second edition of BAM Circus. The Festival of Wonders in the Park, from 26 to 28 May, Andrea Loreni will walk on a thread suspended in the sky between the fluorescent skyscraper of the UniCredit Tower and the last branches of the vertical forest
I arrive and I see it: the cable is already there, 140 meters high, a line that joins the fluorescent skyscraper of the UniCredit Tower to the last branches of the vertical forest. The sky is clear, as expected for Friday 26 May at 20.00, when in the low sun of the Milanese aperitif Andrea Loreni will walk inside it. I think about it, I get excited, through the green geometry of the BAM Biblioteca degli Alberi park and I go to meet him.
Everything happens in the 'BAM Circus. The Festival of Wonders at the Park': this is the second edition, from 26 to 28 May. What you will see, you will experience, you will follow with your nose up you owe it to the Riccardo Catella Foundation. And to make a name above all, to Francesca Colombo, Cultural Director General of BAM. You can taste its robust program here, where every form of open-air theater will alternate. Just a taste: the Yoann Bourgeois Art Company, with a performance where the balance will be made by the public, moving on a mobile platform; the aerial theater of the Puja Group!, 30 meters high, 'acrobaters' held by strings, like flying puppets. On the site you can also leaf through the petals of the 'Manifesto of wonder': a harmonic scan that overturns the aggressive one of the futurists. And it suggests much more future.
In the small courtyard of the Foundation Andrea meets me. Suspended between the bald head and a beard left free to expand, two sky-blue pupils. Precisely. I tell him right away that after crossing the city choked by exhaust fumes, seeing his cable makes you breathe.
“Seeing roads that aren't there.” The slogan of a progress advertisement throws me at the fly.
To inaugurate three days of various marvels could only be the crossing of the sky. In the child's imagination, the first naked and possible miracle. You are the only Italian tightrope walker to do so.
“Yes, if I do it, I do it”.
"It is not obvious".
Right. I snatch a sentence from the poster: 'Like lovers, poets, children and sometimes fools, for whom nothing is ever obvious, taken for granted, known'. And here we have a bit of philosophy. You have studied the theory.
“When you have that thing there, that you seek the truth, philosophy is the first thing that comes to you. Speculative, conceptual approach, study and theory. It just wasn't enough for me. And I went looking for more. I finally found it on the wire: a factual, existing reality, a moment that you fully experience. Ok, not only that, my wife's birth was much more real... But even when I get on the cable I'm free, I belong to something bigger. In the harmony of the body. When the gesture becomes fluid”.
Ease, in my Western vocabulary, is the basis of every attraction. Conquest because it belongs to the free.
"It is not enough. Not only. I mean the gesture reduced to the essentials: there is nothing more and nothing less than what is required. You see someone doing Tai Chi, you see someone climbing, and they are gestures where there is nothing artificial”. Andrea Loreni's muscle fiber certifies the same: only what is needed.
And after philosophy, the road. And the theater of him.
“I saw in Milan, at the Oh bej! Oh bej!, Rodrigo Morganti, whom I later met, and I was won over by the fact that social distances were brought down in a very short time. You connect with the audience in a very frank way. You are free to give what you want and the audience in the hat gives what they want, freely. Different dynamics from the classic show”. Nothing is expected or due.
Valentina Ugo, communication manager of BAM, sits with us and we make the starting point of the Festival and the acrobatic inauguration.
In summary. The Catella Foundation has always worked on environmental requalification; here once upon a time there were the Varesine, the enormous Fellinian amusement park that the more seasoned will remember: the Festival of Wonders, strongly desired by Francesca Colombo, was born from the ideal coitus between the great green aspiration and the DNA of the place. The pregnancy is months long, all around security, repeated contact with the police, prefecture, condominiums, and explanations. In short, complicated, given that the performance is unprecedented. Then comes Andrea, introduced to the team by Alessandro Serena, grandson of Moira Orfei and professor at the Statale with a chair on the circus, unique in Italy. A recommendation to be taken seriously.
"We met, and I gave them my book and the idea."
Andrea's books are two: 'Zen and tightrope walking'. And here, the two subjects flirt easily. And the most recent: 'Short tightrope walking course for those who walk with the wind. Seven steps to go through life'.
The wind. It seems to me that on the cable he is more of an enemy.
“And yes, leave it alone. But if you challenge him you lose. The poetic figure is the one that carries you".
You ride it, like a seagull.
“If you have it behind you… Then you have it beside you and nothing. Then you have to harmonize. Make it part of that moment, indulge it. Of course, if it's too strong, you can also say no."
You are trainer and speaker for the management of imbalance and change. Nothing is in balance, by nature. Everything is in flux. We are all tightrope walkers, then.
“And I try to make my experience available on the cable”.
Tell me about this cable. Understood as matter.
“For this specific crossing it is in dyneema. A super nylon, a little softer than steel. It's more like a carpet. Twenty millimeters in diameter. I usually use leather shoes that I had made on purpose, similar to those for dance, which when they're flat allow me to slide a bit. I like it, it helps me. In this case, however, there are about 30 meters in altitude, and I have to do more grip, more grip, so I'll be barefoot".
You will cling to the two symbolic buildings of the new Milan.
"Yes, I know, at the end there is the spritz, in fact." We laugh. But I know I'll be there too, sucking on the orange drink. Even if it were to exorcise the inevitable indirect wink. It's live."
What kind of fear is yours up there? Asked by someone who feels a little dizzy already on the tenth floor.
“A fear that tells me: if you really have to do it, raise the level of presence, receptivity, sensitivity. A bit like an animal state. I don't know, I'm not a dog, or a deer running away, but it could be something like that. Amplification of all potential. And sensations. And presence. There must be fear, precisely for this ".
How do you prepare?
“Lots of meditation. Posture. The fundamental point is breathing: you must find calm, deep breathing, even if you are afraid. You don't have to stiffen."
What are you watching?
“The cable in front above all. But also around. It can happen downstairs too. But every shift of gaze is a distraction”.
What are you thinking about?
“I don't listen to too many thoughts. They go, they pass, they arrive. The cable is a bit of a mirror. You look at him there, now, still, incredibly still. Then you get on it and get pissed. Because you're bringing him stuff of your own. In this sense, it is a mirror. And see what's inside, if you feel like looking”.
“Last year in Frassinetto: 300 meters high, 350 away”.
Bare feet okay. What the hell are you wearing?
“I try to be a little elegant. Years ago a friend told me he felt like I was getting married, and he dressed for the occasion. Since that time, every time, I dress to honor the moment."
The more I look at the cable up there, the more I feel like I'm stealing time. That my questions sow analysis and thoughts that must thin out. And then I end with the child's question: what amazes him? But the children and the rising sun are not worth it. Think about it for a while.
“When the wind stops blowing and the leaves are silent. If you're there, in that moment, it's wonderful."