Don't Switch Off - it's Dance!
It was as he joined the rest of the world in watching live televsion images of a plane crashing into New York's Twin Towers that choreographer Luca Silvestrini realised the way we watch world events would never be the same again.
"It was like watching a film," he points out. "We are watching and we saw these images of 9/11 over and over again and it almost ceases to be real, it is like a film."
"It was the same with the Tsunami. When that came out it was like: 'Wow, look at that - it's truly amazing'. But what we were really talking about was loss, about lives destroyed."
It was that increasingly blurred distinction between truth and reality, as well as the world's increasing obsession with the throw-away world of celebrity, that inspired Luca to create Big Sale, the new piece from his company, Protein Dance.
The show comes to Sheffield's Lyceum Theatre for just one night on February 6, a typical Protein blend of high energy performance, dialogue, music, props and live video as seven dancers - including Sheffield's Phil Hill - bring to life a fascinating cast of characters, ranging from political prisoners to sex industry workers to TV show hosts.
The piece had it's premiere back in 2005 but Luca was relieved to discover that, for this latest outing, its commentary on our celebrity obsession and the throw-away nature of news seemed more timely than ever.
"I must admit, I wondered if what I had made would still be relevant and actually I think it is probably even more relevant now than it was then," he says.
"We are being guided in the way we consume products and information and news - it all seems so manipulative. There isn't enough time to stay with one thing and one story, there is always something new to lure you or distract you at all levels."
"Within the same page of a newspaper you might find a very sad story about starvation or war and then at the bottom there is some advert for a hair product and the juxtaposition of those two things is worrying to me."
"It's the same with television. Within the same channel, watching the same programme, you find it hard to go from some quite amazing or touching story to break into a commercial and then come back to where you were. Sometimes it gets to the stage where you don't even know what is fact or fiction."
"What amazes me is that we have all become a bit dry. The emotions that certain stories or images trigger are so shallow - we are not feeling anything for that long."
Addressing those issue of media and the manipulation, Luca has created a performance which he admits was described by one reviewer as a rollercoaster of emotions.
"That's exactly what I wanted," he laughs. "There's constantly something happening, there's such a bombardment of products and stories that you don't have time to stay with anything for that long.
"We are trying to guide and manipulate the audience's attention and feelings in the same way the media do. It's a bit like television - but you can't switch it off!"
John Higfield, January 2007