Poetry with Horses
Ever since I first discovered Bartabas I have had a love for his raw poetic equestrian theatre. He is an inspiration and idol, both an artist and an equestrian.
In 1980 four friends started the Troupe du Baron Aligre, named after an area in Paris. Inspired by Antonin Artaud, a French play writer known for his surrealist Freudistic cruel plays, they made theatre plays with cats, rats, geese and horses. Their cryptic motto was equestrian, danger, and cruelty.
But soon the street scene theatre became too small for the visions and dreams of Bartabas. Then at a horse dealer in Brussels, he met a Friesian horse…
Only 12 months old, ebony blue, muscled, with the head like a bull shaped in the contour of a crescent. Wild and playful, he named him Zingaro.
Zingaro instantly became his favourite horse and made his first show Zingaro Equestrian Cabaret I, named after the Friesian. The first show took place in November 1984 in a small tent in Bordeaux. In the shows that followed there where less and less other animals and more and more horses. And just like the acrobats and equestrians they got their own costumes and bigger roles. The aura and character of the performance became stronger and stronger with each show.
In 1989 the two architects Patrick Bouchain and Jean Harari designed a wooden cathedral to be used as a theatre, in Aubervilliers Paris. Adjacent to an old military fort now lies their home. Their animals, the mobile homes for the artists, a training area, a hayshed and a shop have taken their place here. It’s a gypsylike gathering of animals, equestrians, acrobats, musicians and others.
Below is a small clip from the famous Cabaret Equestre: