22nd Oct, 2018

Ignite world premiere brings fire to Birmingham Royal Ballet stage

Correspondent 1st Oct, 2018

BIRMINGHAM Royal Ballet is to stage the world premiere of a brand new ballet by award winning Spanish choreographer Juanjo Arqués this Wednesday, October 3.

‘Ignite’ run from October 3-6 at the Birmingham Hippodrome and was inspired by a painting by William Turner – The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons.

“In this painting lots of people gather to watch a huge fire engulfing the Houses of Parliament,” said Juanjo.

“The centre of the work is the fire, but what also got my attention are the reflections in the water, the colours and the crowd watching with a feeling of awe – it’s a spectacle of fear but at the same time beauty.

“That was the starting point, and then everything else has evolved with my artistic team.”

Juanjo then worked with composer Kate Whitley, and literary advisor Fabienne Vegt, to analyse his first impressions of the painting.

“My first instinct was the look at the centre, because the fire is in the centre,” he said.

“Next, I looked in a clockwise direction at the sky, the smoke, the reflection of the fire on the water and finally the people around the edge gathered to watch.”

Working with Kate they came up with a score in three movements, the first building the dynamic movement of the fire, the second a more calm, relaxed movement which is the reflection in the water, and then a third movement highlighting exactly what is burning in the fire the Houses of Parliament, a symbol of power.

“I like to connect my works with our society today, and I see this painting in relation to now,” said Juanjo.

“We are living in a society where politically we are very unstable, almost a society that needs to be redefined.

“The painting reflects reality; the burning Houses of Parliament represent old ideas of power crumbling and giving way to a new beginning.

“I don’t want to make a political statement in my piece, I‘m just reflecting what I think the painting is saying in our society.”

Ignite is part of a Fire and Fury double bill at the Hippodrome from October 3-6. Tickets cost from £7 via https://www.brb.org.uk/

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