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Erik Satie

Erik Satie Composer

Parade (ballet)

Performances: 6
Tracks: 14
  • Parade (ballet)
    Year: 1916-17
    Genre: Ballet
    Pr. Instrument: Orchestra
This ballet has no conventional story line and opens with a parade of various performers from a circus streaming across the stage. Each one displays features from his or her act to entice those in the crowd watching them to pay the admission fee and come inside for the full show. The circus company has two managers: a Parisian, depicted by a large caryatid of garish colors and construction; and an American, whose caryatid is part skyscraper and part cowboy. Each has a dancer within its structure, who is soon compelled to depart the stage by the appearance of the Chinese Conjuror, also dressed garishly. (The ballet's original production featured costume designs by Pablo Picasso.) He demonstrates his magical talents, making an egg appear from nowhere and then disappear.

He is followed by an American girl, whose various mimes depict a range of events and scenes, from driving an automobile and portraying a shipwreck (probably making reference to the Titanic, since its sinking was then a recent event) to playing a scene in a movie or dancing in a ragtime style. Next comes a ringmaster, represented by a dummy, riding in on a mechanical horse. Two acrobats then come on-stage, performing flying leaps, somersaults, and other physical stunts. There follows a grand finale, where all the performers return and beckon the crowd, generally failing, however, to entice them to come inside, most watchers feeling satisfied they witnessed a substantial portion of the performers' acts without paying an admission fee.

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