Award winning director and choreographer Arthur Pita will premiere The world's greatest show, a new dance theatre event exploring the phenomenon of dance marathons in 1930's America.
Opening at Greenwich Dance on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 June, The world's greatest show will also be performed at Ipswich Corn Exchange as part of the Ip-Art Festival on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 July, culminating with a performance at the Paul Hamlyn Hall, Royal Opera House on Sunday 27 July. It is a co-commission, with partners including the Greenwich Dance & Trinity Laban Partnership.
Arthur Pita said: "After watching the film They Shoot Horses Don't They? a decade ago, I was inspired to create a show about the American dance marathon craze of the 1930s. Through years of research I have become completely fascinated by this segment of dance history that remains largely under explored. Last spring eight brave dancers and I undertook a 100 hour workshop at Greenwich Dance to discover more about this phenomenon.
"When I look at archive photographs and footage I am so moved by the expression on the contestants faces, they seem so desperate yet there is still a glint of hope in their eyes. This is what I hope to capture with this wonderful cast of committed dance theatre performers, channeling those beautiful spirits of the past and giving a modern audience a poetic glimpse into what happened historically. Ultimately it's the fight in the human spirit to survive that I find so inspiring."
Designed for non-conventional venues, the production will feature a professional cast of 11 performers accompanied by a four piece jazz band. The cast will be joined on stage by up to 30 local participants for each performance.
Arthur Pita (previously Associate Artist at The Place) was nominated for this year's Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance for his choreography for Ballet Black -A Dream Within A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House. His celebrated repertoire of work includes the multi award-winning adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis which has attracted critical acclaim since its premiere at the Royal Opera House in September 2011, winning Olivier, Southbank Sky Arts and Critics Circle National Dance Awards. His dance theatre work The Little Match Girl premiered at Jerwood Dance House DanceEast in Ipswich last December and will be transferring to Sadler's Wells for a Christmas season at the Lilian Baylis Studio later this year.
The world's greatest show is a co-commission with DanceEast, the Foundation for Community Dance for the Big Dance Weekend 2014, Studio Programme, The Royal Ballet and the Greenwich Dance & Trinity Laban Partnership, with funding by Arts Council England. It is produced by Matthew Jones and Rebekah Jones.
WORLD PREMIERE - Greenwich Dance: 27 June 7.30pm, 28 June 2.30pm and 7.30pm, www.greenwichdance.org.uk
Corn Exchange Ispwich: 11 July 7.30pm, 12 July 7.30pm, www.danceeast.co.uk
Paul Hamlyn Hall, Royal Opera House: 27 July 7.30pm, www.roh.org.uk