Winged Bull in the Elephant Case Performance Live


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Winged Bull in the Elephant Case

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

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of Trafalgar Square for a very special performance.

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It's part of a strand of programmes called Performance Live,

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bringing some of today's most exciting artists

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to the small screen.

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Photographer Robin Friend

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and world-renowned choreographer Wayne McGregor

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have brought together guest choreographers, composers, dancers,

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spoken word and music artists to create a unique and sensuous journey

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through the gallery rooms,

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as well as a mysterious underground cavern.

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As sirens sounded in 1939,

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it was from here that the nation's art was evacuated

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to a slate mine in Wales.

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For five years, the near empty gallery would become a venue

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for lunchtime concerts, before peace, and the collection, returned.

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It's this tale of exodus and redemption that inspired

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tonight's story, in which an evacuee painting takes on human form

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as it struggles to return home.

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The film asks the question

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what must be done to protect humanity's cultural heritage

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from violence in the world?

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Here...

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..another ballad for the borrow bodied

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The displaced

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But not the likely story

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1940, we were carried in coyote kisses, canvas skin

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Blurred into vignettes

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Under the burning of wings, we were the persons of interest

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Proudly hung masterpieces

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Now, young evacuees, blue-lipped, acrylic

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Shivering in the boot

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Huddled in truck back

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Promised a new home with the long walk of the Navajo, but

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Well wished

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Smuggled like abalone shell fish

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To a pre-gutted galleria in a Welsh rib

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We felt like latchkey kids

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Did you read those letters home to Ludwig on the Luftwaffe wing?

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We wrote you love in linseed oil, under the blitzkrieg

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Look at the things we'd spoiled for war

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Who made a killing off the human race by killing off the human race?

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A shilling each for Schumann played

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Enter, winged bull in the elephant case

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MUSIC RAMPS UP IN INTENSITY

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HE BREATHES DEEPLY

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MUSIC: Earth - The Elements by Tunde Jegede

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WATER DRIPS

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RADIO STATIC

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MUSIC: Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Major by Ludwig von Beethoven

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MUSIC TURNS ORCHESTRAL ELECTRONIC

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RADIO STATIC INTERWEAVES WITH MUSIC

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SONATA SLOWLY BUILDS

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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.