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Carlos Pons Guerra's TORO: Beauty and the Bull

Guildford School of Acting
Event organized by Guildford School of Acting

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TORO is inspired by the original story by French author Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve as well as the erotic and feminist reading of fairy tales by British writer Angela Carter. Set in a circus sideshow of a dystopian South American, TORO is a grotesque tragicomedy played out by conquistadors, female bulls and dragimals - animals in drag. A young prostitute is rescued from a cruel gang of male colonisers by a female beast, who takes her to the outback to be adopted by her troupe of leather-bound, performing drag monsters. Basking under a sideshow marquee of gender-fluid acceptance and intimacy, Beauty and Bull live an intensely emotive love story that is never out of threat from the savagery of the civilized macho.

This queer postcolonial reading of Beauty and the Beast reflects on the nightmarish circus that is male supremacy, and the freak shows all minorities endure under oppression. Through a darkly ironic lens, with absurd humour and the right dose of Latin drama, Pons Guerra questions who the real monsters amongst us are. The choreography for TORO draws on contemporary dance, classical ballet, voguing, bull fighting and drag to create a unique, highly physical and theatrical language. Movement narrates the story alongside an eclectic soundtrack of Hispanic and Latino tracks, including pasodobles, mambos, Latin percussion, sorrowful Mexican rancheras and the highly dramatic Capriccio Espagnol by Rimsky-Korsakov.

TORO is performed by an international cast of six dancers - Marivi Da Silva, Emma Louise Walker, Michael Barnes, Nicholas Tredrea, Jonathon Luke Baker and Jason Tucker. Costume and set designs are by Ryan Dawson Laight with lighting by Barnaby Booth, both regular collaborators with Pons Guerra. Produced by Spin Arts, TORO is supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and was commissioned by DanceXchange with further support from The British Council and the Spanish Embassy in London.