Creatives & Credits
Choreographer: Eliot Smith
Original Dancers: Adam Davies, Gemma Paganelli, Emma Lane and Eliot Smith
Music: Sonata for violin & piano No. 3 in D MinoR
Composer: Johannes Brahms
Costume: Andrew Gregson
Premiered on 26 November 2019 at The Sage Gateshead
Funded & Supported by Arts Council England and Northumberland Arts Development. Eliot Smith Dance acknowledges the support for On Red Kites from Mrs June Atkinson.
On Red Kites is created in collaboration with Friends of the Red Kites in the North East.
Eliot Smith describes the work:
Birds in general have always fascinated me, but the Red Kite is special. Seeing one of these magnificent birds soaring high in the sky is a true delight. A large, graceful bird of prey, it soars over woodland and open areas, its distinctive reddish-brown forked tail making it easy to identify. Persecuted to near extinction in the UK, this splendid bird (once confined to Wales) has been reintroduced into many parts of England and Scotland and between 2004 and 2007 the Northern Kites project re-introduced 94 red kites into the lower Derwent valley, these birds began to breed in 2006-for the first time in 170 years and yet this spectacular bird is still under threat.
On Red Kites is as much about human beings as it is about the majesty and beauty of this remarkable bird. Human beings have always had a close kinship with birds, ever since our prehistoric ancestors gazed up at the sky and wished they could fly. Our lives have been intimately connected with the avian world. The more you discover about birds the more it offers insights through the prism of nature into our own complex human history.
It also brings hope, at a time when many of the world’s bird species face greater threats than ever before: hope that the deep, long-standing and multi-dimensional connections between human beings and birds, can and will be protected by bird protection groups like the Northern Kite project, as well as by individuals who work on the conservation of the red kite and many other species.
The dance follows the format of Brahms Sonata for Violin and Piano in D Minor which has four movements. The first section is an expressive introduction to the four dancers, embodying the red kite’s heroic characteristics. The second section is romantic and nostalgic, as two dancers intertwine offering each other love and protection. The third section by contrast spotlights one dancer/bird with an impassioned, rhapsodic outburst of the soaring bird. The final section is the most virtuosic of the four, in which the passion and majesty of the bird re-establishes itself, and has its apotheosis in the vision of dancing red kites in all their glory.