English National Ballet will present a First World War themed world première at the National Portrait Gallery this Friday 16 May for one night only as part of Museums at Night and the Gallery’s Late Shift programme.
The site-specific dance performance is inspired by David Jones’s seminal First World War poem In Parenthesis and is choreographed by English National Ballet Associate Artist George Williamson, with the National Portrait Gallery’s massive full-length group portraits of First World War officers as a dramatic backdrop. The work which will make use of several gallery spaces evokes the poet’s experience of life on the front during the First World War.
The evening, which is free admission, is part of the Gallery’s four-year programme of events commemorating the centenary of the conflict which includes the free exhibition The Great War in Portraits.
In Parenthesis, which includes the line ‘you scramble forward and pretend not to see, but ruby drops from young beech-sprigs – are bright your hands and face’ was poet and painter David Jones’ first literary publication. A rich, beautiful and complex book-length poem which took 20 years to write, it was published by Faber and Faber in 1937. With an introduction by T S Eliot, who called it a ‘work of genius,’ it describes Jones’ experience of life on the front during the First World War.
English National Ballet Dancers taking part are Jia Zhang, Daniele Silingardi, Joshua McSherry-Gray, Dynott, Stephen Wilson, Pedro Lapetra, Laurretta Summerscales, Max Westwell, Van Le Ngoc, Anton Lukovkin, Nicola Henshall and George Williamson.
LATE SHIFT EXTRA: IN PARENTHESIS
National Portrait Gallery, Friday 16 May 2014 Performance 18.00 – 20.40, Gallery activities until 22.00, Admission free