Rehearsals start for National Dance Company Wales & Marc Rees’ P.A.R.A.D.E.


• Full professional and community cast, plus creative team confirmed for this large-scale spectacle honouring some of Wales' revolutionary figures 

• Performances at Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre 24-25 October, and Bangor’s Pontio 28-29 October

Rehearsals are at full throttle for P.A.R.A.D.E., the large-scale, multi-platform, bilingual re-imagining of Ballets Russes' extraordinary Parade, featuring dance, music, film references and a renegade aerial robot. 

The event will be performed in Cardiff Bay and Bangor this October, and will honour some of the revolutionary figures in Welsh history, including Owain Glyndŵr, the Rebecca Rioters and Gwenllian, daughter of Gruffydd.

The original Parade was a radical ballet first performed on 18th May 1917, and created by a supergroup of world-famous European artists with Ballets Russes; Erik Satie, Jean Cocteau, Leonide Massine and Pablo Picasso. Parade subverted many of the artform’s conventions; the setting was a fairground and the ordinary streets of Paris, and the characters included clowns, acrobats, fire-eaters, and carnival acts to attract an audience; the score was inspired by music hall, ragtime, and fairground music; the orchestra’s instruments included a typewriter, a gun, a siren, milk bottles and a foghorn; and some of the dancers’ costumes were made of cardboard. 

National Dance Company Wales’ P.A.R.A.D.E. will see a supergroup of world-class Welsh artists, companies and venues – Marc Rees, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, writer Branwen Davies, aerialist Kate Lawrence, BAFTA-nominated actress Eiry Thomas, architectural designer Jenny Hall, composer Jack White, south Wales-based Rubicon Dance and north-west Wales-based Dawns i Bawb, Wales Millennium Centre, Pontio and a community cast in each venue – plus internationally renowned choreographer Marcos Morau and graffiti artist Pure Evil, joining forces to bring a spark of revolution to Wales.

The action will begin, as it was depicted in the 1917 original, in the open air (in the Roald Dahl Plass in Cardiff Bay for the Cardiff performances, and outside Pontio's Level 2 in Bangor), where a call-to-arms for a political revolution will be gathering momentum and a giant sculpture brought to life. Audiences will be swept into the foyer, passing extraordinary performances including a dance loop inspired by the 1975 film The Stepford Wives, before settling in the auditorium to watch the event’s two core performances; a fresh, modern reimagining of the original Parade directed by Caroline Finn (with a live score* including all of Satie’s extraordinary instruments, and during which the dancers will create their own costumes out of paper), followed by Tundra, a new dance piece by Marcos Morau. 

Both dance pieces will be performed by NDCWales’ core dancers; Àngela Boix Duran, Ed Myhill, Elena Thomas, Robert Bridger, Camille Giraudeau, Cyril Durand-Gasselin, Evan Schwarz, and two student apprentice dancers, Marine Tournet and Mathew Prichard.

P.A.R.A.D.E. will be a flagship event in Wales’ Russia ’17 programme, which marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution.

Artist Marc Rees said: “The original Parade symbolised people’s mourning for their inner creativity, as industry cast an even greater shadow on our lives. A century later, and we can all still recognise that feeling, so here’s our chance to create a modern version of Parade as relevant now as it was then; a shock to the senses and a spark to revolt!”

NDCWales’ Artistic Director, Caroline Finn said: "It's an honour and challenge to be taking on such an iconic piece as Parade - completely reimagining it and making it relevant for our audiences here in Wales. A collaboration like this really feels like a chance to celebrate NDCWales’ versatility as a company, surprise our audiences and inspire people think outside the box."

Mixing politics, dance, history, graffiti, sculpture, circus, film, music and community participation, P.A.R.A.D.E. will not only be an unprecedented spectacle – a feast for the senses – but a reflection on Wales’ own modern history and its current political landscape.