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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

From the stalls to the stage, the horses taking part in world-first dance show

By Daily Mail Reporter

Pushing boundaries: French horse trainer Bartabas is bringing live horses on stage at Sadler's Wells

In a theatre scene as crowded as London's, producers are always trying to out-innovate. Now, Sadler's Wells may have just raised the bar, with real horses treading the boards.

Debuting this week, The Centaur And The Animal is the first London performance by 53 year-old French horse trainer Bartabas.

Four horses will take to the stage at the renowned dance theatre for a performance with dancer Ko Murobushi. The set aims to combine equestrian discipline with butoh, a Japanese dance style.

The performers say they aim to show how human society has moved away from the natural world.

Dark sets, whispered narration and strange choreography characterise a performance that theatre criticism website theartsdesk.com described as 'strange and potent.'

‘I don’t make this show to “show” horses – it’s to dive into the depths of the relationship between man and horse,' said Bartabas. 'It’s about working together.

'Because you know horses for years and years, you know how to listen – the ideas come from the horse. When you truly work with animals you don’t control, you hear the body and the breathing. The horse tells me when something is not working.’

Dressage: The Centaur And The Animal follows the interaction between man and horse

While not a household name, Bartabas is well-known in horse training circles. For 25 years he has been perfecting his own brand of equestrian theatre, a fusion of classical dressage and modern conceptual dance.

His Parisian-based company comprises 35 horses, and a 40-strong company of riders and stable boys to tend to them. He hosts equine shows all year round at his own revolving theatre, complete with bar and restaurant.

‘The horse is like music,’ Bartabas told the Metro. ‘The instrument doesn’t change, you just spend a lifetime learning to play it better.’

Master: Bartabas has spent 25 years performing his equestrian performances, which are a fusion of classical dressage and modern dance



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