An immersive performance, combining dance choreographed by Wayne McGregor and others with music and spoken word, filmed underground and in the National Gallery, London.
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Tonight, you join me at London's National Gallery on the north side
of Trafalgar Square for a very special performance.
It's part of a strand of programmes called Performance Live,
bringing some of today's most exciting artists
to the small screen.
Photographer Robin Friend
and world-renowned choreographer Wayne McGregor
have brought together guest choreographers, composers, dancers,
spoken word and music artists to create a unique and sensuous journey
through the gallery rooms,
as well as a mysterious underground cavern.
As sirens sounded in 1939,
it was from here that the nation's art was evacuated
to a slate mine in Wales.
For five years, the near empty gallery would become a venue
for lunchtime concerts, before peace, and the collection, returned.
It's this tale of exodus and redemption that inspired
tonight's story, in which an evacuee painting takes on human form
as it struggles to return home.
The film asks the question
what must be done to protect humanity's cultural heritage
from violence in the world?
..another ballad for the borrow bodied
But not the likely story
1940, we were carried in coyote kisses, canvas skin
Blurred into vignettes
Under the burning of wings, we were the persons of interest
Proudly hung masterpieces
Now, young evacuees, blue-lipped, acrylic
Shivering in the boot
Huddled in truck back
Promised a new home with the long walk of the Navajo, but
Smuggled like abalone shell fish
To a pre-gutted galleria in a Welsh rib
We felt like latchkey kids
Did you read those letters home to Ludwig on the Luftwaffe wing?
We wrote you love in linseed oil, under the blitzkrieg
Look at the things we'd spoiled for war
Who made a killing off the human race by killing off the human race?
A shilling each for Schumann played
Enter, winged bull in the elephant case
MUSIC RAMPS UP IN INTENSITY
HE BREATHES DEEPLY
MUSIC: Earth - The Elements by Tunde Jegede
MUSIC: Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Major by Ludwig von Beethoven
MUSIC TURNS ORCHESTRAL ELECTRONIC
RADIO STATIC INTERWEAVES WITH MUSIC
SONATA SLOWLY BUILDS
Performance Live continues on BBC Two with a spectrum of some of the most exciting artists working in performance today.
During World War II, the National Gallery's art collection was taken for safekeeping to Snowdonia. Winged Bull in the Elephant Case dramatises the journey of a lost painting that takes human form, as it strives, with help from its friends, to get back to the National Gallery. Combining extraordinary dance forms, filmed underground and in London's National Gallery, this immersive performance for the screen questions how far we should go to preserve our cultural heritage in the face of violence and aggression.
Introduced by Clemency Burton-Hill, Winged Bull in the Elephant Case features choreography by Wayne McGregor, with additional choreography by Charlotte Edmonds, Botis Seva and Bonetics, performed by Company Wayne McGregor, Alessandra Ferri, Bonetics, and Far From The Norm. The music is composed by Joel Cadbury, with performances by pianist Joanna MacGregor and cellist Tunde Jegede, and spoken word performed by Isaiah Hull.