Bring on the Dancing Horses

News from the Telegraph on Sadler’s Wells’ new season:

The show is among the highlights of the London theatre’s spring 2011 season. Most spectacular of all is a production featuring four live horses. The Centaur and the Animal will be choreographed by the Zingaro Equestrian Theatre, also making their British debut.

The horses will perform a mixture of dressage and butoh, an avant-garde Japanese dance form. It will be the first time that horses have appeared on the London stage – disregarding the mechanical versions in War Horse and masked actors in Equus – since a 1972 revival of Gone With The Wind.

That production demonstrated the dangers of inviting a horse into a theatre: a pile of dung deposited mid-scene. Bonnie Langford played Scarlett O’Hara’s daughter, prompting a famous put-down from Noel Coward: “If they had shoved the child’s head up the horse’s —- they would have solved two problems at once.”

A great story, but that wasn’t the last London production to place a horse before the footlights. Years ago I saw a white Andalusian stallion dance at Sadler’s Wells itself in La Cuadra de Sevilla’s all-Andalusian production of Carmen. It performed a pasa doble with a Flamenca dancer to Bizet’s music.

Published by Susanna Forrest

Writer Amazons of Paris, The Age of the Horse and If Wishes Were Horses.

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