Friday, 18 September 2009

Darwin: the ballet

For something completely different you might like to attend what sounds like a very ambitious, but intriguing, dance interpretation of Darwin's theories.

The Rambert Dance Company will soon begin a UK tour of its ballet, Comedy of Change, "combining the fascinating and exuberant worlds of evolution and dance". The Guardian has an in-depth feature article on the ballet.

Themes of the performance include avian intelligence (featuring an "avian tango") and an interpretation of the Darwinian concept of time ("In nature, very different time cycles interact. A rock appears to be static, when, in fact, it's changing over a long period of time. The blades of grass growing between the rocks have a much faster life cycle, while the bird pecking at the grass displays a frantic degree of energy, activity and change," says the ballet's music composer Julian Anderson).

Other underlying themes include "the concept that beauty, intelligence, art and the religious impulse are fundamental in the battle for survival; and that the process of evolution has, for better or worse, elevated the human race to the highest species on the planet," says Marc Baldwin, who choreographed Comedy of Change.

Baldwin came up with the ballet after an approach from his friend Stephen Keynes, great-grandson of Charles Darwin and founder of the Darwin Trust. I wonder if his grandfather was a ballet fan?

Comedy for Change starts in Plymouth on 16 September and will tour throughout the UK. Visit the Rambert website for more details.

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