Scribblings/Carnival of the Animals Introduction
Welcome to this introduction to Rambert Dance Company’s production of
Scribblings with choreography by Doug Verone and Carnival of the Animals with
choreography by Siobhan Davies.
The Vocaleyes audio-described performance at Sadler’s Wells Theatre will be
on Saturday 24 May. There will be an Interactive Introduction at 12.15. We will
broadcast a short introduction in the auditorium from 2.15pm, and the
performance itself starts at 2.30pm.
The production lasts for approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes, including an
interval of 20 minutes. The live audio description will be given for Vocaleyes by
Bridget Crowley and Willie Elliot .
There now follows information about Rambert Dance Company and descriptions
of the visual elements of the production; the sets, costumes and a little about the
style of dance in each piece. This is followed by a brief description of the Free
Interactive Introduction which takes place at the theatre before the performance.
There’s also some useful information and contact details.
Rambert Dance Company is Britain’s flagship contemporary dance company.
Established in 1926 by Polish dance teacher Marie Rambert, Rambert continues
to build on its rich heritage, touring throughout the UK and overseas to deliver
performances full of ideas and passion under the Artistic Direction of Mark
Exciting and innovative programming is born through bold collaborations with
composers, designers and visual artists. The Company believes in the power of
live music to enrich the senses, and works with its Associate Orchestra, London
Musici, to present a variety of musical styles.
Rambert’s 22 dancers are considered to be some of the finest and most
versatile in the world. Young, slender and athletic, each is an individual forming
a close-knit ensemble of character and strength but performing with subtlety and
quirky humour or exhilarating freedom, their style always totally in tune with the
demands of each piece.
The first piece to be performed is Scribblings, with choreography by Doug
Verone. The music is John Adams’ Chamber Symphony.
Doug Verone, has used many sources for the inspiration for his exhilarating
piece. He has watched insects swarming, flowing at high speed into fluid
patterns and shapes that are never still. He also watched circus acts, particularly
clowns with their garish colours and outlandish, exaggerated movements. But
the dance is also about pure movement and although dancers sometimes move
together at the same time, at others, each performs steps and movements
individual to themselves sometimes alone, sometimes while others dance
The floor of the bare stage is covered with a deep, mottled surface that gleams
and sparkles and reflects light. Overhead is a single giant light, with a huge dark
green metal shade, cone-shaped with a flattened top. It measures 3 metres in
diameter and is 1.6 metres high. The light swings slowly from side to side like a
pendulum, glaringly bright, shifting and scattering the glitter of the floor and the
brilliant colours of the costumes as both it and the dancers move. Directly under
its beam, it is so bright that mirror images of the dancers appear to move with
them upside down across the floor.
The costumes are relaxed and casual, light but strong, a mixture of shirts and
loose, high-waisted trousers in bright colours. Most are made of cotton in a
single colour, but one or two have the bold patterns that clowns wear, wide
stripes and big spots. A couple of the shirts are chiffon with sleeves that billow
slightly. The dancers’ feet are bare and their hair worn naturally but secure, not
flying about to hamper movement.
There are three movements in the music. The first and third are fast and furious,
the music flamboyant and at times discordant, the dancers running, spinning,
leaping, rolling pellmell in and out of the action, with great pace and energy,
giving a sense of urgency. They group and regroup, sometimes dancing
independently, sometimes together, their legs kicking high, their arms reaching
up, cutting the air, or seeming to grow from their backs to hover like wings. Their
torsos gyrate and rotate, their heads hang heavy, or stab the air as they jump.
One dancer lifts another, legs scissoring high. Two dancers drag another
backwards with linked arms.
In the second movement, two dancers separate themselves from the rest to
perform a duet and the tempo slows. The young man wears a dark green top
and turquoise trousers and the young woman a simple, calf-length red dress. It
has tiny sleeves and a v-neck bound with a narrow band of yellow, and two
bands of yellow outline a high waist under the bust. He is tall and slim with a
mop of black curls, she is petite and elf-like, with a close-cut cap of straight dark
hair. The overhead light is still and descends a little lower to focus its light
straight down upon them as they lie alone on the floor intertwined, ready to
For Scribblings the dancers are
Virginia de Gersigny
The duet is danced by Malgozata Dzieron and Thomas Gulger
Lighting Design is by Mark Henderson, the Designer, Jon Bausor
Music is by John Adams
Choreography Doug Varone
The second work of the afternoon is Carnival. Siobhan Davies, the
choreographer, has chosen the familiar and well-loved music Carnival of
Animals by Saint Saens as the basis for her subtle and witty piece. There is an
introduction, 12 short sections each representing an animal or a human activity
and to finish, all are drawn together in a riotous finale. Male and female dancers
wear a variation on cream coloured tail suits with waistcoats. The fabric is
coarse but stretchy. Beneath the suits are soft, collarless shirts in different
colours made of semi-transparent chiffon. The coloured shirt shows at the neck
beneath the turned back lapels of the waistcoats and the sleeves are revealed
when the jackets are removed. On their feet are socks that match their shirts
and cream jazz shoes.
The stage is bare but for a backcloth that stretches the width of the stage. The
cloth is painted with a huge pair of cream curtains with a narrow black pattern
round the edges. The curtains are pulled back to reveal a panel, some two
metres wide at the top and 7 metres wide at the base. On it is painted a replica
of part of the jungle from one of the artist known as the Douanier Rousseau’s
mysterious jungle paintings. From base to top of the cloth, huge luscious leaves
in variegated greens, yellow and burnt orange jostle in a forest of dense foliage.
Here and there huge, exotic flowers in brilliant colours poke up spiked heads. In
the centre stands a figure in a black suit with a black beret, holding a painter’s
palette and a large paint brush. The man has a black beard and his face is long
and very pale with small eyes. At his feet a tiger crouches, ready to spring out
A Maitre d, a young woman, introduces the animals and keeps events in motion.
The movements of the animals are only minimally suggested as each dancer
portrays not only the animal but a human emotion that the music evokes.
Hens and Chickens salsa madly: hips swivel, heels dig in, elbows pump, heads
down. They scratch at the ground with their feet like hens in a yard until a
rampant cockerel in a bright red shirt rounds them up and ushers them away.
As if freed from captivity into the open countryside, the Horse, in a deep
oxblood coloured shirt, leaps across the space, wearing shoes on his hands. He
reaches, drops to the floor, kicks back, spins and canters with furious energy.
Two Tortoises, in the form of aged Can-Can dancers reminisce about the old
days. Their shirts are garnet red and royal blue Their large grey ostrich feather
fans, now the heavy shells of old age, re-form into the high collars, headdresses
and huge skirts of memory, though their movement, once full of abandon, now is
full of effort.
The elephant in a grey shirt moves heavily and weightily, the back of one hand
sweeping the floor like a trunk. She lifts both arms fleetingly to the side of her
head, elbows bent, suggesting large ears, but the weightiness and elasticity of
her movements also bring to mind a patient and undaunted spirit.
The legs of the Kangaroo twitch, jerk and jump nervously. In her green shirt,
her top half manages to remain serene as she plucks up courage to attend a
sophisticated cocktail party of aloof looking people who are grouped together at
the side of the space.
In Aquarium the dancers don long blue gloves and waltz, spinning and rolling
like the whirlpools and tides of the sea. Using images borrowed from
photographer Edward Muybridge, who experimented with still photographs in an
anatomical examination of movement, the dancers show the various stages of a
dive in frozen poses.
The dancers play a game of ‘Follow my Leader’ from left to right across the
stage in Long Ears. The leader wears a dark navy blue shirt. He walks on his
hands as the others try to mirror him precisely with their feet. Wherever he
stumbles, they do too.
In Cuckoo an obsessive admirer incessantly follows the object of his desire, as
she moves right to left across the stage with tiny flicking and twisting
movements from the tango. He conceals his heart with the flatted palm of his
hand. With the sounds of the cuckoo, his hand falls and rises briefly, revealing
the place where he feels his pain. She begins by handing him a soft, squashy
hat which he puts on, but she continually rebuffs him, ever more weary and
frustrated by his advances.
Four dancers peck, scratch and ruffle each other’s feathers in the Aviary. They
make deep use of the lungs to stretch the ribs, puffing out their chests as breath
is sucked in and blown out.
In Pianists, the dancers become mechanical parts of the piano, for example,
the hammers leaping up and down as the keys strike them. The piano stools are
dancers on all fours. Other dancers then become players, sitting on the stools,
reaching forward and leaning back as they play.
In Fossils, a strange creature, half man, half Neanderthal, lumbers on, head
first and charges round the space seemingly dislocating his shoulders as they
roll. Joined by a second creature, the dance continues to make their bones
seem independent from one another as they swing, slide and roll.
The Swan’s jacket is a blazer rather than tails and his shirt is white. He glides
and plunges, stately and grave, at times a swan, at other moments morphing
briefly into a cellist, when he stands holding an invisible instrument between his
knees, stroking the strings with an invisible bow. As a swan he stands with his
feet apart, one in front of the other and sinks down, lowering his head almost to
his knee. He presses up till his knees are straight, his back parallel to the floor
and his arms raised vertically behind his back, his fingers linked, representing
wings. During the live description, we will call this ‘swan’s back’. He rolls to
kneel up, his back erect, gazing ahead, one arm raised before him, bent at the
elbow, the wrist also bent away from him, the fingers clenched in a fist, to
represent the swan’s powerful neck.
The Finale gathers all the animals together, each performing fragments of the
dance they have performed previously in a brief farewell.
For Carniva of the Animalsl the Dancers are
The lighting Design is by Peter Mumford, Costumes are by Antony McDonald
and the Set Design is by David Buckland
Music, Charles Camille Saint-Saens
Choreography - Siobhan Davies
The music for both pieces is played by London Musici
Artistic Director - Mark Stephenson
Conductor – Paul Hoskins
Leader – Christopher Tombling
Solo Cello – Ben Chappell
The free 'Interactive Introduction' will be led by Martin Joyce and Laura
Harvey from Rambert Dance Company, along with describers, Bridget Crowley
and Willie Elliot - and is a new way of combining a Touch Tour with a Workshop.
It will last about an hour, starting at 12.15.
If you would like to take part, please let the box office know in advance, and
then come at 12.00pm to the Stage Door entrance. This is next to the main
entrance to the theatre, and you will be met at Reception.
You don't have to be a dancer or a physically energetic person to take part and
we are sure it will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the afternoon.
This event will take place actually on Sadler's Wells stage and will give you the
chance to explore the space the dancers are working in, experience the shiny
floor which is part of the set for Scribblings and have the opportunity to see
some costumes from both pieces.
Don't miss your opportunity to gain an interactive insight into Britain's premier
contemporary dance company as you learn some basic movements from
Useful Information and Contact Details
If you are bringing a Guide Dog to Sadler’s Wells Theatre you will probably have
informed the ticket office when making your booking. However, if you have not,
could you please let the theatre know by calling the ticket office on 0844 412
4300. Guide dogs are allowed in the auditorium and there is a small amount of
extra space for them in row J in the stalls, though you can choose to sit
You can make use of ticket discounts by becoming a member of Sadler’s Wells’
Access Address Book, [Track 1]
Welcome towhich is a free membership scheme for disabled people. For further
information please contact the Ticket Office on 0844 412 4300.
If you require any further information, please contact Sarah Howard on 020
7863 8096 or email email@example.com
To contact VocalEyes, call us on 020 7375 1043. You can receive a copy of the
free Vocaleyes Newsletter with full details on all our work by calling us or by
following the links on the Vocaleyes accessible website. The Newsletter is
available in print, Braille, on CD or via e-mail. The website address is
Vocaleyes is a charity funded by Arts Council England. This
information has been produced for Vocaleyes by ………………. on
behalf of Cue One. (Please note we are only crediting Cue
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