National Dance Company Wales is taking an alternative view of revolution in its contribution to the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.
Rather than the horrors of Lenin and Stalin’s legacy, the NDCWales reworking of the Ballet Russes Parade, is looking at revolutionary figures in Welsh history, including Owain Glyndŵr, the Rebecca Rioters and Gwenllian, daughter of Gruffydd.
Rehearsals are now underway for the event which will take place in Cardiff and Bangor.
The original Parade was first performed in May 1917, and created by European artists with Ballets Russes; Erik Satie, Jean Cocteau, Leonide Massine and Pablo Picasso.
NDCWales says that Parade subverted many of the artform’s conventions; the setting was a fairground and the ordinary streets of Paris, and the characters included clowns, acrobats, fire-eaters, and carnival acts to attract an audience; the score was inspired by music hall, ragtime, and fairground music; the orchestra’s instruments included a typewriter, a gun, a siren, milk bottles and a foghorn; and some of the dancers’ costumes were made of cardboard.
NDCWales’ P.A.R.A.D.E. will include Marc Rees, who has specialised in such 0utdoor Welsh historical associations, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, writer Branwen Davies, aerialist Kate Lawrence, Wales Theatre Awards and BAFTA nominee Eiry Thomas, architectural designer Jenny Hall, composer Jack White, south Wales-based Rubicon Dance and north-west Wales-based Dawns i Bawb, Wales Millennium Centre, Pontio and a community cast in each venue – plus international choreographer Marcos Morau and graffiti artist Pure Evil.
The action will begin, as it was depicted in the 1917 original, in the open air (in the Roald Dahl Plas class in Cardiff Bay for the Cardiff performances, and outside Pontio’s Level 2 in Bangor).
Both dance pieces will be performed by NDCWales’ core dancers; Boix Duran, Ed Myhill, Elena Thomas, Robert Bridger, Camille Giraudeau, CyrilÀngela Durand-Gasselin, Evan Schwarz, and two student apprentice dancers, Marine Tournet and Mathew Prichard.
Artist Marc Rees said: “The original Parade symbolised people’s mourning for their inner creativity, as industry cast an even greater shadow on our lives. A century later, and we can all still recognise that feeling, so here’s our chance to create a modern version of Parade as relevant now as it was then; a shock to the senses and a spark to revolt!”
NDCWales’ Artistic Director, Caroline Finn said: “It’s an honour and challenge to be taking on such an iconic piece as Parade – completely reimagining it and making it relevant for our audiences here in Wales. A collaboration like this really feels like a chance to celebrate NDCWales’ versatility as a company, surprise our audiences and inspire people think outside the box.”
While some of the Russia 2017 events that had been hoped have not materialised or have been rather low key, usual autumn season events put under an umbrella of R17, this looks to be the one artistic extravaganza worthy of note.
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
Tuesday 24 October 7pm
Wednesday 25 October 1pm
Wednesday 25 October 7pm
Box Office: www.wmc.org.uk
Tel: 029 2063 6464
Saturday 28 October 7.30pm
Sunday 29 October 3pm
Box Office: www.pontio.co.uk
Tel: 01248 382828
Running Time: approx. 2hrs inc. an interval
Age guidance: 8+ (no under 2s)
- BBC National Orchestra of Wales will perform live at the Wales Millennium Centre, and in a pre-recorded track at Pontio.
Watch the trailers for P.A.R.A.D.E
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