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Performing animal troupe ‘inspired by a French horse opera’ – 25 years ago in The Stage

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September 1, 1994: In our Showpeople section, interviewing emerging acts from around the UK, we featured Equilibre, a Welsh troupe with animal performers at its heart.

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We reported: “Inspired by a French horse opera, a group of Welsh art-loving horsey types got together to form Equilibre with the aim of changing people’s perception of the animal. Director Jane Lloyd Francis is aiming to show horses in a more artistic light through this project, the only one in the country.

“She says: ‘Men and horses have had a relationship for thousands of years and Equilibre is a performance in celebration of this, juxtaposing dance, music and poetry with the horses movements. By taking these professional artists out of their usual environment and putting the horses at the forefront of their minds, we are allowing a lot of boundaries to be crossed.’

“Jane conjures up images of vibrant Spanish dancers echoing the primal beat of the horse’s hooves as the two combine together. ‘Our shows appeal to a wide range of people but they are always taken by surprise because Equilibre is like nothing they have ever seen before,’ says Jane. ‘Audiences are really moved by the primitive physicality of the horses and the moment stays with people for a long while.’

If you’d like to read more stories from the history of theatre, all previous content from The Stage is available at the British Newspaper Archive in a convenient, easy-to-access format. Please visit: thestage.co.uk/archive

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