A Theatrical Performance of Vernon Lee’s The Ballet of the Nations
Vernon Lee’s short narrative piece The Ballet of the Nations (1915) was written after the sudden and shocking collapse of a long period of peace that had prevailed in Europe for forty-four years. In the text, Lee studies the developing war not as it is fought on the battlefields, but as it penetrates, occupies and dominates the civilian mind. How, she asks, does the slaughter become filled with idealism? How does a war that is so obviously catastrophic engage the best in people, and reduce it to partisan savagery? A site-specific and bilingual adaptation of The Ballet of the Nations was performed at the Villa il Palmerino – Lee’s home for forty years – in May 2019. The international cast was directed by Greek actor and director Angeliki Papoulia (The Lobster, The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea), and by dancer and choreographer Federica Parretti. My paper will consider the genesis of this project, the relationship to its original text, and the political implications of its performance.
Keywords: site-specific; promenade performance; pacifism; dance and ritual; political performance
Open Access Policy
This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.
This Journal is a CC-BY 4.0 publication (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). This Licence allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work’s authorship and initial publication in this Journal, providing a link to the Licence and explicitly underlining any change (full mention of Issue number, year, pages and DOI is required).
- The Author retains (i) the rights to reproduce, to distribute, to publicly perform, and to publicly display the Article in any medium for any purpose; (ii) the right to prepare derivative works from the Article; and (iii) the right to authorise others to make any use of the Article so long as the Author receives credit as Author and the Journal in which the Article has been published are cited as the source of first publication of the Article. For example, the Author may make and distribute copies in the course of teaching and research and may post the Article on personal or institutional Web sites and in other open-access digital repositories.
- The Author is free to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the Journal’s published version of the work, with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this Journal and explicitly underlining any change (full mention of Issue number, year, pages and DOI is required).
- The Author is permitted and encouraged to post their work online after the evaluation process has been successfully passed, as it can lead to productive exchanges as well as to a wider dissemination of the published work.