CULTURE

Enjoying an exquisite equestrian experience

It is not an easy task to describe the Zingaro equestrian theater experience: partly theater, partly acrobatics, entirely based in virtuosity and art, it is also a study on the relationship between man and horse. Whatever its definition, it is ultimately a remarkable spectacle – painstakingly practiced over many years – and it is coming to Greece for the first time this month. Billed as the first event of the 2004 Athens Organizing Committee’s cultural program and organized by the Attica Cultural Society, it will take place at the stadium of the Municipality of Hymettus. The Zingaro troupe, comprising 24 solo dancers and 22 trained horses, will interpret a vibrant choreography, titled Triptyk, which is a musical performance divided into three parts, Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Symphony of the Psalms, as well as Pierre Boulez’s Dialogue de L’Ombre Double. The troupe’s leader, and its soul, is Bartabas, a media-shy Frenchman who named the company after his favorite horse. Co-founder in 1976 of the Theatre Emporte, Bartabas became known in 1977 with the production of The Alchemist, performed on the sidelines of Avignon’s festival. Two years later he was at the head of the Aligre Circus, while in 1984 he founded the Equestrian Zingaro Theater, where he presented his production of the Equestrian Cabaret I. In 1989, the Zingaro Theater was established in the Aubervilliers area of Paris. Following the company’s tradition, Bartabas is the inspiration behind every production’s concept, acting as director, choreographer and set designer. In Triptyk, besides the troupe’s regular dancers, horseback riders and horse trainers, there are also guest stars, namely eight dancers from the southern Indian state of Kalaripayatt as well as Annouk Tissot and Julio Arozarena, both dance soloists (the latter a leading dancer of the Maurice Bejart Ballet). Costumes were created by Marie-Laurence Schkmundes and the sculptures are by Jean-Luis Sauvat.