Choreographed by Liz Lea and featuring dancers Natalie Ayton, Melanie Faydherbede, Liz Lea, Maudave and Miranda Wheen, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival hit 120 Birds is playing at Riverside Theatres from Wednesday 23 to Saturday 26 May. This highly textured performance brings to life the Tango, Charleston and Waltz with beautiful vintage costumes and outrageous archival footage from the National Film and Sound Archive..
Celebrating the dance legend Anna Pavlova, 120 Birds forays into history to tell the outrageous and daring tale of the rise and fall of an Australian dance company in the 1920's and 30's. The cast recreate the glamour and toughness of a fictional ballet company on the road, formed in homage to Anna Pavlova, after the great ballerina’s visit, mixing live performance with vintage film footage. The choreography explores Tango, Charleston and Waltz with costume design inspired by the enigmatic Australian artist, Florence Broadhurst.
A dance star of the twenties, Anna Pavlova trained at the Imperial Theatre School in St Petersburg and made her debut with the Imperial Russian Ballet at the Maryinsky Theatre. Pavlova came to Australia twice, both times under the entrepreneurial banner of the J. C. Williamson organisation, and was billed as The Greatest Dancer Of All Time. Her first visit was in 1926 when she visited Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. Pavlova returned again in 1929 with a larger company and expanded repertoire. The title, 120 Birds refers to the number of feathered creatures Pavlova is said to have taken away after her last tour to Australia.
Choreographer Liz Lea has created an eclectic career as a dancer and choreographer by drawing upon traditional Indian classical dance forms and fusing these with contemporary Western dance and the martial arts of Asia. Lea has been recognised through a number of dance awards. In 2003 she was the recipient of a fellowship from the Australian Choreographic Centre and an AHRB research grant from Roehampton University, UK. In that year she also received awards for her solo Inland at the 6th Solo-Tanz Competition, Germany, and was short-listed for the Jerwood Choreography Awards, UK. In 2009 she was an associate artist at QL2, Centre for Dance, Canberra and pursued her research into Anna Pavlova in Asia at the Australian National Library and National Film and Sound Archive where she received a Fellowship. 120 Birds, which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2010, drew on this research.
What a treat this invented slice of dance history is. The List (Edinburgh) 2010
120 Birds Riverside Theatres, Cnr Church & Market Sts, Parramatta Date: May 23 - 26 Time: Wed 23 at 8pm; Thurs 24 12:30pm & 8pm; Fri 25 at 8pm; Sat 26 at 8pm Tickets: Adult $28, F/T Student $25 Bookings: Riverside Box Office on 8839 3399 or www.riversideparramatta.com.au *transaction fees apply