“I’ve seen some people saying that English National Ballet’s Le Corsaire is so out-of-date it’s risible to see it staged in the 21st century. Sex trafficking, men in black with scimitars in Istanbul, pirates trading slaves across the Mediterranean, rich fat men rubbing their jewelled paws over fresh young bodies — pshaw indeed!”
- Ismene Brown
Scene 1: The Sea-Shore Conrad and his friends are washed ashore. Young Greek women appear, led by Medora and Gulnare. They soon discover the shipwrecked corsairs, and immediately Medora and Conrad fall in love. But soon the women become aware of impending danger, and quickly hide the corsairs. A patrol of Turkish traders, in league with the villainous slave dealer Lankandem, are hunting for beautiful woman to sell as slaves. The Turks soon capture the young Greek women, and are paid handsomely by Lankendem. They soon head off to the slave market in a Turkish bazaar, and the corsairs vow to rescue the unfortunate maidens.
Scene 2: The Slave Market Amidst the bustle and barter the wealthy Seid Pasha turns up at the slave market to purchase beautiful young slave women for his harem. Lankendem shows off all of the fruits of his travels from foreign lands, and though he extols the beauty of captive maidens from Palestine and Algeria, the Pasha is not interested. Soon Lankendem presents Gulnare, who enchants the Pasha. Gulnare and Lankendem dance a Pas d’action (the Pas d’esclave). He then pays handsomely for her as she is carried off to his harem. But Lankendem has saved his greatest spoil for last - the beautiful Medora.”
The classical ballet Le Corsaire is one of the most powerful examples of the blatant fetishism, sexuality and in this case even exploitation that is most often thinly veiled by the classical ballet’s historical context of being a part of the distinctive performing arts. As the sex trafficker actors’ ropes wrangle the scantily clad dancers en masse during the ballet for inspection and delivery to the white slave traders and harem owners, the ballet is usually described simply as “Swashbuckling Escapism” (Evening Standard). THE RITA has thoroughly deconstructed the classical ballet and it’s related elements to the harsh noise project’s past involvement in the social abstraction of women’s form and this time Le Corsaire’s ties to the ocean and eventually women’s historical involvement in tragic and fatal Adriatic Sea shark attacks is culminated in a cacophonous and layered storm of abrasive sound.
To achieve such parallels of story, rough edged shifting lines of sound, and vicious crunching landscapes of distortion, various esteemed colleagues were called into action to provide related audio sources (Caligula031, Climax Denial, Lingua Ignota, Ted Byrnes...)
Verse by Joe Lombardo
Medora: Altynai Asylmuratova, Alina Cojocaru
Female Shark Attack Victims (Adriatic Sea): Agnes Novak, Carla Podzum, Mira Kudlich, Milena Scambelli
Ballet is Woman
1. Tutu with an Exposed Abdomen
2. Fatalities in the Adriatic Sea
Old Europa Cafe AVS