Published: Mar 08, 2012
An albino Burmese python is to add a touch of hiss-tory to a forthcoming dance show at LIPA.
The 11ft reptile, named George, has been cast to appear in Esther: Queen of Egypt, a new piece of dance theatre that runs from March 15 to 17.
The show, a funky modern twist on the story of the biblical heroine, follows a group of talented dancers as they perform for a king in order to win his hand.
Moonwalker dancer and former Drifters singer Patrick Alan has devised the colourful and dynamic production, which employs different styles from ballet to hip-hop and is set in a fantasy world that captures elements of New York and Egypt.
George came to LIPA for the first time on Wednesday February 29 to rehearse with third-year BA (Hons) Dance student Alisha Dee. The 21-year-old, from Rotherham, who performs a solo scene for the king with George draped around her, admitted that the python initially gave her the jitters.
Alisha said: “When I first saw him I was scared but now we’re good friends. He’s really nice. I’m excited about dancing with him but I just don’t know what he’ll do when we’re on stage. Hopefully he’ll be in a good mood!”
On his decision to have a snake in the show, Patrick said: “It fits with the ancient traditions and is today pretty commonplace in night clubs, bizarre circus performances and cabaret shows around the globe. In fact, it's pretty trendy right now.”
Patrick devised the show after reading the biblical story of Esther. She became the wife of King Xerxes of Persia after winning a beauty contest he held to find a new bride. Women from across his kingdom were brought before the powerful ruler.
Patrick said: “I just thought ‘Wow, if that happened today, every city would have a beauty pageant with talent categories’.
“I felt it would make a great dance show. It has a historical element to it, there’s drama, and they get to crown the new queen so everyone lives happily ever after!”
Purchase tickets for Esther: Queen of Egypt
George the python with dancer Alisha Dee