A juggling of art forms!

A groundbreaking Stravinsky ballet is being resurrected in a World Premiere in London this week

Later this month (28 October) an innovative new work that combines juggling, acrobatics and music and which aims “to explore the relationship between art and recovery” receives its world premiere at Kings Place in London (informed and tickets here).

The work, a re-staging of the Igor Stravinsky ballet Apollo and His Muses (Apollon Musagète, 1928) explores the essential role art has to play in a world recovering from the tumult of tragedy and isolation; in other words, with a war raging in Europe and a global pandemic only just subsided, the work has found a new resonance, and its revival is timely.

For Apollo Resurrected, chamber ensemble United Strings of Europe (USE) will join forces with a quartet of juggler-acrobats from Gandini Juggling, under the guidance of its legendary founder Sean Gandini. The performance is directed by globally-renowned theatrical innovator Bill Barclay who presents a brand new narrative in collaboration with his company Concert Theatre Works. Greek god Apollo is re-cast as an artist reeling from personal tragedy, with a mission to fall in love with life, and his art, once again.

USE’s Artistic Director Julian Azkoul says: “Apollo Resurrected is an uplifting story about recovery and rehabilitation, about how an artist, a community and society can come together to heal and recover. As an ensemble, we are interested in how narrative can shape performance and how we can learn from different artistic disciplines.”

Director/producer/composer Barclay adds: “Apollo Resurrected combines live music with movement, juggling and stagecraft in a celebration of art’s power to transform us, providing much-needed catharsis in the face of global and personal challenges, and giving audience members a renewed sense of optimism. My hope is that the protagonist in this piece is able to represent all of us. We all need rehabilitation after these two years, we all need to open up emotionally. Have we gotten a little bit too used to being at home? Are we not challenging ourselves? We wanted to make something that was truly resonant with those fears that I know are shared quite widely.”

Alongside Stravinsky’s celebrated and sumptuous score, the hour-long performance includes Osvaldo Golijov’s Tenebrae and a brand-new commission, Another Eden, written for USE by British composer Joanna Marsh. Following the world premiere, a second performance will take place at Northern Ballet’s Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre on 3 November as part of the Leeds International Concert Season.

The project is supported by PRS Foundation, Marchus Trust and London Community Foundation’s Cockayne Grants for the Arts.