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THIS year’s festival, organised once again by Cardiff School Of Art And Design, will be
showcasing the best of Welsh talent at venues all over Cardiff throughout the whole of
October. The festival begins with the Best of Welsh Graduates show, which brings the
cream of upcoming new talent from this year’s degree shows to Cardiff Bay.
The festival organisers have some quirky little events in the bag, like their Adopt A
Chair campaign, where lonely chairs can be picked up at UWIC’s Llandaff Campus to
be redesigned any way you like and then brought to the end of festival Grand Recycled
Ballroom Party for judging. You can also vote for your favourite places in Cardiff to
visit via the festival website – bars, buildings, shops, restaurants and even experiences
are being catalogued and mapped into a visitor guide of the most interesting places to
visit in the city.
The Ballroom Party is also to be the event that hosts the award for the Best Of Welsh
Design Showcase. For this, the fourth year of the festival, over 150 submissions have
been received for this award from all areas of design and the entries can be viewed
online before being taken on tour once the festival ends. There are also talks and
workshops on various subjects and the festival goes international by hosting the 2008
Design Management Europe Award at the Millennium Centre in mid October, so this
truly is a festival with something for everyone. Some of the events are free, however
there may be charges for submissions and registration may be required for some events
so it’s best to check in advance. EMMA GOULD
ONE of the dance world’s most innovative contemporary choreographers, and longstand-
ing at 25 years, brings his highly acclaimed Bud Suite, BLOOM and Lareigne pieces to the
capital for two successive nights. Stephen Petronio’s New York-based Dance Company will
perform these works of what he describes as “pan sexuality, where it’s in the actual fabric
of the movement,” set to the music of Rufus Wainwright. Queen supreme Wainwright met
Petronio at an airing of latter’s earlier pieces, while he worked with Lou Reed. Deciding
they had to create something, “luminescent…we wanted to do something kinda hopeful,”
Wainwright set about composing an all-out choral work, written for live performance by a
children’s choir. Petronio had initially taken the Bud Suite inspiration from a collection of
four songs from Wainwright, all interlaced with the theme of desire.
Moving forth to BLOOM, it became something very rurally inflected: “I was watching winter
turn to spring for the first time in my life, watching the landscape bloom, it was violent
sometimes the way things would transform in a matter of hours, change so drastically.
Multiplicity is something I really believe in and practice in my work. I try to keep more than
one thing on stage at a time.”
Coupling his own inherent sense of layering in his performers, Petronio found Rufus’
organically growing music influential on the choreography: “There’s three-part harmonies
going on physically, as well as aurally, it gives me chills every time I hear it,” he says.
A truly beautiful collaboration, the music envelopes the movement, with the costumes
acting by way of what he refers to as “a vector into the sensibility of the piece”. Fashion
is certainly an important facet to the history of Petronio’s company, most recently for
NY fashion week and his significant joint operations with a number of artists; Anthony
Hegarty, Placebo, Lou Reed, and his “next art love,” Nico Muhly.
So whether it be drawing upon his love of water, fashion, music, the poetry of Dickenson
and Whitman, or more drastically the beginnings of 80s postmodernism, Petronio’s motto
echoes the familiar rebel artist where destruction is a form of creation: “Lets smash these
things and make something new,” he says. “That’s what I’m about.” EMILY KENDRICK
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay. Fri 17-Sat 18 Oct.
Admission: £5-£22. Info: 40 2000
OCTOBER2008.indd 14 25/9/08 3:16:33 pm
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