Shobana Jeyasingh’s latest dance work gets bold new stage design from Tom Piper, co-creator of the Blood-Swept Lands and Seas of Red poppy installation for the Tower of London, at The Lowry this September.
The world premiere of Bayadere – The Ninth Life (Thu 28 & Fri 29 Sept) is a radical reworking of the world-famous ballet La Bayadère by French choreographer Marius Petipa.
Award winning theatre designer Tom Piper is best known for his co-collaboration on the installation at Tower of London which had over 5 million visitors. In this new work, he and Jeyasingh have undercut the stereotypical exoticism of Victorian vision of the Bayadère. Piper has created a series of shifting structures – museum-like vitrines and cages – to frame the nine exceptional dancers.
La Bayadere, a term used to describe Indian temple dancers, features one of ballet’s most celebrated scenes ‘Kingdom of the Shades.’ More than a re-telling, Jeyasingh’s new 2017 edit looks at the excesses of the 19th century classic, and the European fantasy of Indian culture over the centuries.
The work opens with Jas, a young British Asian male at a train station, messaging his friend about a ballet that his girlfriend has dragged him to see… La Bayadère. Jas feels disassociated from Petipa’s view of Indian culture and in his imagination he is transported to 19th century Paris. In Bayadere – The Ninth Life Jas is transported through history into Jeyasingh’s very own version of the ‘Kingdom of the Shades.’
Composer, producer and DJ Gabriel Prokofiev was nominated for a British Composer Award for his commissioned score for the original piece in 2015. For this new version, he intersperses the score with sounds from city streets to reflect the urban reality of the dancers’ 21st century world. French critic Théophile Gautier’s lascivious impressions of Indian temple dancers on their first visit to Europe in 1838 are spoken as part of the sound score.
Jeyasingh’s earlier version of Bayadère – The Ninth Life premiered at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House in 2015.
Bayadère – The Ninth Life
Dates: Thu 28 & Fri 29 September