Next week's Drama and Performance Seminar takes place in the Judith E Wilson Studio, English Faculty on Monday 17th Feb at 5pm. The week’s theme is ‘Entropy’ and Michael Byrne will be kick-starting our conversation with a presentation titled: Revisiting Helpmann's Lost Dance-Dramas. The history of classical ballet could be contextualised as a history of 'lost works', enforcing a belief that dance is unlike the other arts through its inability to leave a record in the form of a tangible object such as a painting, a script or a musical score. This was evidenced by the disappearance of Robert Helpmann’s allegorical dance-dramas 'Miracle in the Gorbals' (1944) and 'Adam Zero' (1946), where the closing revivals at the Royal Opera House in London rendered the productions’ choreographical imprints traceless. Through an initiative conceived and championed by David Drew (a long-serving member of the Royal Ballet for over fifty years) these 1940s productions are being ‘reawakened’ using the memories of surviving cast members aged between seventy-five and ninety. This presentation therefore aims to display filmed extracts from the rehearsal/workshops completed thus far, and encourage further discussion on how the mature dancer’s transmission of historical and embodied knowledge provides an opportunity to problematise the relationships between dance and drama during (re)performance. Michael Byrne is a PhD student at the University of Cambridge, investigating the role of the senior performer and creativity in dance, with a particular focus on the regenerative processes involved in British narrative ballet. Having completed his undergraduate degree in South Africa, Michael furthered his work in performance studies at the Royal Academy of Music, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and King's College London. He continues to perform as an actor with the Royal Ballet.
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