On the evening of Wednesday November 28th 2018, with the —tiny— 2018 fall class in Performing Arts Practices and Management, part of the MPAE (MBA in Performing Arts Management and Entertainment) curriculum of the IESA, Paris, we went to see and experience Bartabas' ( * ) Ex Anima show at the Théâtre Équestre Zingaro in Aubervilliers. After the show we met and talked with mr. Bartabas's assistant, Emmanuelle Santini.

[[ Many thanks to WeiWei C., who transcribed the recording of the meeting and the conversation / discussion with Emmanuelle, an exchange that took place mainly in French. What follows below is my English translation/rendition of her transcription. ]]

SoundBlog PAPAM entries:

(2020, november 10) - Zingaro, equestrian theatre (papam18_5)
(2019, december 22) - Rendez-vous Contemporains de Saint-Merry (papam19_2)
(2019, october 11) - STEIM, Amsterdam (papam19_1)
(2018, may 05) - La Gaîté Lyrique (papam18-4)
(2018, april 30) - IRCAM (papam18-3)
(2018, april 20) - Sonic Protest Festival (papam18-2)
(2018, april 10) - La Générale Nord_Est (papam18-1)

37 min read 🤓

Equestrian theatre: Zingaro

november 10, 2020

[es] « Is this the first time that you come to Zingaro? Did you never see a show before? »
[hs] « For me it is the second time. I came once before. That must have been in 1993 ... or 1992 .. more than quarter of a century ago... »
[es] « Ah! And then what was it that you saw? Chimère ? ... Non ... eh ... ou ...
[hs] « I'm afraid I forgot... »
[es] « Can you remember the music? »
[hs] « It was Berber music. Berber songs. »
[es] « Ah ! Opéra Équestre. »
[hs] « Opéra Équestre, oui, oui... ( ** ) »
[es] « Deuxième spectacle de... »
[hs] « Ça fait il y a longtemps... »
[es] « The theatre was founded in 1984. And since 1989 it is here at the Fort d'Aubervilliers. So that is for quite some time already. We, we all live and work here. We live in the caravanes, with the horses. It's a company half man, half horse. There are about 40 people and 40 horses that here work together. »
[student] « 40 people, 40 horses ... so it is like one person looking after one horse? »
[es] « No, no. These forty people also include the administration, the ... everything ... The riders (cavaliers) are only 5. »
[student] « Only 5? »
[es] « Yes, that's it. »
[hs] « But also those that work in the adminsitration or do other tasks live here on the site? »
[es] « Uh... it depends. The riders, and all the people who take care of horses, they live here with the horses, normally. In the administration it depends. There are three directors, managers, and there is one who doesn't live here, who has a house and his family elsewhere. The other two live here. It depends. There are no rules. But, the horse people, they all live here. »
[hs] « Three directors ... what kind of directors are they? Financial, and ... ? »
[es] « Yeah, and a production manager, and a technical director. And uh, the production producer, he's a manager too. It's a business here. It's a limited company, a SARL ... I don't know if you are familiar with the different types of legal structures of companies, but... »
[student] « But, do you have some kind of like camp here, so like… ? »
[es] « Didn't you see the caravans? But it's not a camping site, it's not open, not public. It's private. We live here, in caravans. When we go on tour, we take our caravans with us. »
[student] « It's very interesting... »
[es] « So, Zingaro, 85% of our income comes from ... I don't know how to say it, say from the money that we get from the ticketing for the shows. And there is only 15% of subsidy, of grants. That's almost nothing at all. The subsidies come from the state, from the region, the county and the city. But it really is not much. »
[student] « And they provide this terrain ? So you just ... ? »
[es] « Ok, so, here, in fact, there's Bartabas, you know who he is. He is the one who runs everything. When he came here 30 years ago, there was nothing here. It was a wasteland. And he was allowed to use this piece of land, to start with for 10 years. But we've been here now for 30 years.We haven't done anything with the piece of land itself. We just live on it, and that's it. »
[student] « But keeping here the horses, that must be very expensive, the horses. »
[es] « With horses, it is very, very expensive compared to a theatre company with only humans. Because all of the time you need to feed the horse, to take care of it and everything. It's one of the biggest companies in Europe, Zingaro, and yet it is also very, very, very fragile, very weak, because Bartabas, he says: "It's like a bicycle, and you can never stop". In the beginning it was small, but it grew bigger and bigger. And when you create a show ... a show with us, that's two and a half years of living show, because including six months for its creation. Then you don't earn any money. You lose money. And afterwards, you have to exploit the show to regain the money you lost, and have a little bit more money to make a new show. So, it's all in cycles, financial cycles of about two and a half years; and artistic cycles as well. So, it should allow you to finish a show well, and start to feed, and move on to the next show. A Zingaro creation, that's between a million and a half and two million euros. »
[student] « Yes, that's normal... »


[es] « Here, this wooden theatre, that is our home. We play here two winters, and the rest of the time of the year we go on tour, in France or abroad. It's very difficult abroad, because, for example, Japan that means: sanitary rules, quarantine... And it's expensive, for example, even when Zingaro goes on tour in France, all of this stays here in AUbervilliers. We have a huge tent for the shows in other places. Here there are 700 places, when we're on tour, there are 1300 places. It is really a very big tent. It takes 10 days to set it up, and a week to dismantle everything again, with 16 big trucks of equipment to transport it all. It's enormous. »
[hs] « And it is yours? »
[es] « It's ours. As a result, we have to stay at least a month in a place to make it profitable, for the place that welcomes us. We don't take the risk of ticketing. It's the people who welcome us... »
[hs] « They pay a flat rate (forfait). »
[es] « Yeah, they pay a flat rate, a session price it's called, the session price of the show. »
[student] « And, when you go internationally, so it can be really hard, like to transport the horses and all ... So, do you have like a lot of international tours or ... »
[es] « Now, today, really right now, it's getting very, very, very complicated to travel abroad, because, because of the economic crisis. But for example at the time of the Bartabas show, before the crisis... they travelled to Japan, Hong Kong, Moscow, everywhere, twice to New York... It was easy, because at the time there was the money for the shows. Now it's much more complicated. So we are touring in France. And even in France, it becomes very difficult to tour. »
[hs] « And in other parts of Europe? Germany? »
[es] « Bèh... Italy, Spain, Southern Europe, it's dead, no money. Germany, yes. And we went to Switzerland, Switzerland is still fine, apparently. [ ... ] We went to Switzerland, and then, as far as European countries are concerned, it would be Northern Europe. But the problem now, too, is that more and more countries have strict regulations on the use of animals in shows. And we get confronted... so in France, it's OK, but in Switzerland, in Germany, in Germany too, in London, certain districts of London, there you have a ban on performing, on putting animals in circuses, as a matter of fact. »
[hs] « Yes, also in the Netherlands, I think. (I am Dutch.) Also there circuses are being subjected to ever stricter regulations. »
[student] « Do you use any kind of medical eh, or ... you know, for example, I am from Russia, I am from Moscow, and there you have some circuses, they, they use eh ... drugs ... »
[hs] « He means to ask whether you use any drugs on the animals ...? »
[es] « Oh, I understand very well what he is saying! No, not at all, so here, you know, it's... our life, it's very special. We have chosen to work with horses, but the horse for us is the equal of man . In the work, it's like, shows, the show, it's the horse and man that are partners, they are in this together, ils sont des compagnons de route. They share a history, in agriculture, in war, in all that. As a result, for us, we're not on the exploiters side.
[...] Yes, so it's a family. It may sound a bit silly, but... It's ... we work, the horse and the man, they work together. So we're not going to mistreat the horse. So, putting them on drugs is really excluded. On the other hand, as Bartabas says, the humans did choose to work with him. But the horses, we agree, they did not have that choice. Still they are here. Therefore, all the more so, we have to give them love, attention, care, and all that. So no, we're not at all... Besides, the show shows us that it's not a performance. It equestrian theatre. So you have to take people into an imaginary world, you see, in their imaginary world, each with their own cultures, their own stories. It won't be the same for each of you. Each makes his or her own performance. And we're not interested in... showing that the horse can do this or dan do that. We don't care about that. »
[student] « Did Bartabas already start working on a next show? Because I read somewhere that... »
[es] « ... that it was the last one...?! ... Ah, it's complicated, because if you go afterwards in the restaurant, you'll see... there you find all the sets, all the costumes of all the shows, of 30 years of shows. Bartabas... it's quite rare actually. He's an artist, you follow his career, for 18 years, until now he's 60 years old... For me, I'm his assistant, you see, it's quite impressive—I don't know really how to say this well—to see someone who, every day, finds money for new shows, finds new ideas. He's always at the top of his game. He is passionate. And this particular show is very special in Zingaro's approach. That's clear. It's a very special show... a show where there's no acrobatics, no acrobatics at all. So, what are we going to do next? Bartabas, he felt it was the last one. But I think that it won't be the last. Because he's not going to stop. Only when he dies, the theatre will stop. When he dies, it's going to stop. »
[hs] « And then what is his official position in the organisation? Is he one of the directors? »
[es] « No, he is not a director. »
[hs] « But nevertheless it is he who decides, I imagine. »
[es] « So he is the artistic director. He decides everything. He also decides about what to do with the money. He decides everything. »
[hs] « But he doesn't have a formal status that goes with that? »
[es] « He must be the president... No, he is not the president of the SARL. He has some sort of a honorary function, but he doesn't have a formal position in the company. On the other hand, it is true, he decides everything. And when he dies, all this will stop. There is also a second company, which is the Académie Équestre de Versailles. But that's not the same. That one will continue after his death, since it's the artistic training, it's a school (la transmission artistique). It is a different thing. But here, it's him. It's him on a daily basis. He does everything. »
[student] « And there is no one to...? »
[es] « To take over? No, there is »
[hs] « Any what then will happens with the rest of you... Apart from Bartabas, there are 39 of you, are there not? »
[es] « Yes, but they are performers and riders. I've been working for him for a long time, for more than 15 years. I was a rider at the Academy. In fact, before I was an engineer. I changed my life. I was an engineer, and then I went back to the Academy. »
[hs] « You did your studies at the École; des Mines, didn't you? »
[es] « Yeah, I'm an engineer from the Mines de Paris. And after I graduated, I went back to the Academy. »
[hs] (adressing students) « So you see, after your graduation, you can still change direction... »
[es] « Absolutely. It's all the same path. Because the École; des Mines is one of the grande écoles in France, and it's a general engineering school. It's a school where you perhaps do quantum physics, very specialised things in science, but you can also do art, sociology. So it was the same path. And the Academy is where I then, say, landed on horseback, but it's also to follow an artistic training in singing, in dance... It's all the same path. Bartabas, he is very much inspired by painting, by other arts. His goal is to raise equestrian art to the same level as the other arts. And so it's all on the same path. I have been working with him for 15 years. I've been his assistant for two years. So, in a way, it could be me, the one who takes over. You may want to be that one, but you don't actually choose. Bartabas has the vision, he has ideas. I watch the show, we spend a lot of time together. So I know how he works. I could manage the company's things, because I know the way of working, I know the horses and all that. But having the ideas to make a show, that is not the same thing. And to bring something to your milieu, to the art... you see... they are all very special people, very particular. So, no, no one will take over... »
[hs] « I have a rather practical question... Given that there are these 40 horses, is there a veterinarian among you? »
[es] « No, we know, we know how to take care of our horses. Same as for a human being, you don't go to the hospital right away if you have a problem, you first take care of it yourself. »
[hs] « So it is not necessary. »
[es] « Not at all. When you know your horses, you spend days with them. As soon as there's a tiny little thing that is not normal, we will say: "Ah damn, that is not normal." And we're going to take care of things very early. On the other hand, if afterwards something serious happens, we go to the vet. But we know them by heart. » [hs] « Yes, so there is this whole sociography of the horses ... Do the horses enter into sort of relationships with one another? »
[es] « Of course. The horse is a gregarious animal. It lives in a herd, never alone. All the black and white horses live together here too, always. And of course they have relationships with each other. In the show you have seen that there were two of them fighting and ... yet they are together all day long. They know that during the show, it's the moment when they can have fun, express themselves. And this is their way of expressing themselves. »
[hs] « But does that mean that there are also horses that were born here on the site? »
[es] « No. Not at all. We don't do breeding. And we don't pick a horse because we have an idea for a scene (tableau). This is very important in Bartabas' philosophy. We talk about a scene (tableau), not a number, not an act. In the circus, it's all about acts. But here you don't choose a horse because you have an idea. You have an idea because you have the horses. And we use the people's qualities or faults... It's the horses and the people that bring the ideas. »
[student] « To what extent do you think that the horse itself understands what he/she is doing? »
[es] « They understand very well that they are in a show, because you have the preparation routine. They sense the people around them. That is all very clear. Afterwards, they won't... you see, if people applaud, they won't have any emotion about it. On the other hand, they will feel, if you are on the horse, they will feel what you feel, the emotion that you have. I mean, if you are happy, you will be relaxed; and if you are stressed, they will feel that. A horse senses very well the people's emotions. That's why it's an animal that is used to treat and help humans, in equine(-assisted) therapy (équithérapie). Because the horses, they really... in fact, we say: "The horse is the mirror of what you are. He reflects the relationship that you build with him." You see, the quality of the relationship you build with him. I don't know if it's clear, but if you're hard on him, he'll send you back an image of fear. A horse is extremely sensitive to emotions. And you don't have the words that you can share with him. He will just féél how you are, in his gestures, in your way of being with him. He will know much better than you do. Maybe one day, if you're not well, and you're going to tell your friends : "OK! Don't worry, I'm fine!" They won't notice it's not true. But the horse will know it's not OK. Without the words. Because they feel, they feel a lot. »

[student asks about one of the scenes in the show that we just saw, in which a in which one of the horses is hoisted up to the ridge of the tent in a leather harness.]

zingaro ex anima

[es] « It took a long time to get him used to it. You know, we are never going to put the horse—a horse has a lot of memories—in a position where he's afraid. We always go... we know the horse well enough to manage the repetition, so that the horse will always be at ease. That's why we manage to do this. The horse has never felt bad, so it lets us do the thing all the way, goes along and stays calm. We get to the final lifting little step by little step. It's done very, very slowly... »
[student] « ... because they were all five around the horse... That's for the image! »
[es] « Yes, that's for the image. It's because there have to be two of them tying the horse, and then they go on... But it's not for... Actually it's the image of the... I don't know if you know about, about the horse of the mines, of the mine. Mines are when you dig for ... they don't exist in France any more... to dig for minerals, ore, gold, silver, coal... Horses in the mine, they were brought down like that. And in fact, it's the image turned upside down, of the horse you ride, because you can't bring them down, and you see, they wear miners' helmets at the beginning when they enter, with the little lamps. And then it's the horse... It is the horse of the mine, but it is also a bit the horse that rises above man... You see? It looks at us humans who have stayed down on the ground. That's kind of the idea. And the scene with the gas masks refers to the war of 14-18. I don't know if you understood, but it's the gas masks that were worn in the war. So each time, in fact, a scene refers reference to a story, a history, involving horses... »

[student] « ... And then the last scene [ scene in which a stallion inseminates a fake mare ] ... it was like the birth of something new... ? »
[es] « Ah! Yes, you can look at it that way...There are those who see birth or renewal, yeah. And it's also to show the horse... we show the horse in all of its forms, and the mating, it's called the mating, the fact that it's mating... that is also a way of seeing the horse. »
[student] « But he is doing it for real, so is not... »
[es] « Yes, yes, it's the real thing ... »

zingaro ex anima

[student] « He was exhausted... You are getting him prepared in some way ? »
[es] « Ah yes, we prepared him. But it's the same, it's what we have, this horse has the ability to do that. Because he has the libido. This scene was complicated, because we had to find a horse with enough libido to repeat this gesture over and over again every night. And also, it's a horse when you let a horse mate, either you do it the natural way, with a real mare... but that's not often done, because the mare can be hard and hit the horse, or, in order to have more semen, and little glitter, you do it artificially, on a mannequin. That is done a lot. And we had a horse that was very good for the scene. But he knew the real mares. And when we put him on the mannequin, he was like, "Ah, but this is not the same thing!" So, he didn't... it didn't work. But he, Lucifer, the black horse, he lost his virginity, eh, he was... his first time was with the mannequin. So, for him, the mannequin is the norm, so he knows, when there's the mannequin, its his time... »
[student] « And there were also other animals... »
[es] « And yes, you mean animals in the animal parade. Yes, here we have always lived... with geese, we have a lot of them. They live in the wild with us. We've had turkeys. But in all of Zingaro's shows there are geese, all of them, all of the shows. » [student] « So there are different people that train them? »
[es] « You mean for the geese or for the horses? »
[student] « No,no, for the geese. »
[es] « In fact, for example, geese, if you have... eh, we try to look after the animals according to our affinities, the animals we love. That is, if you don't like pigeons, or... I don't like birds, I'm not going to take care of the birds. But then, there are people who love geese, and they take care of them. You see, it's each one individually saying : "OK ! I'm going to..." Everyone takes their place in the company: 'me, I love geese, ok, I take care of the geese!' So there you go, you see. »

zingaro ex anima

[hs] « And about the music... The musicians, are they hired specially for de festival ? They are not part of the…? »
[es] « No, they're not. Every time the musicians come, they only come for the show. So two and a half years ago, it was the monks from the Buto monastery, the Tibetan monks. That was incredible. As a musician of the ra... a singer from Korea, from ... There are a lot of ... each time, it was a show, with music from some country of the world. This show, as it's a show about ex anima, which is Latin, it means "that which comes from the soul", "the breath" (le souffle, in fact we came back to the breath, because Bartabas said to himself: "The first humans, surely, what they heard as primitive music, it's maybe the sound of the wind in the trees, in the leaves, and maybe also the first instrument they made was a flute from a bone or...". You see, and as a result, it was really that we worked on the breath.S o as a result, we looked for flutists of different influences to come work with us. But they are only with us for the two and a half years of the show. »
[student] « And what is the size of this hall for the spectacle? »
[es] « How many places are there? 700. Today, it wasn't full; that's rare. Today it wasn't full at all. And normally, we fill all places. Normally, on weekends, we are always full. Last year, we were full. No, today it wasn't great. But that's normal. It's the second winter that the show is performed here, so it's always more difficult to revive a show; and in the week, people go out less. On weekends we are full all the time, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays we are full. And fortunately so. For we have to, we have to be full. »
[hs] « And there are five performances each week? »
[es] « Yes, five times a week, we wouldn''t be able to play more. And we'll never do two shows on one day. That's impossible. »
[student] « And what do you do if a horse gets sick? »
[es] « It's like with the people in the show: there's no substitute. And in fact, for example, Lucifer, it happened that he got hurt, and so we had to delete the scene and change the order of scenes within the show. But otherwise, we always manage, we never have a real problem with it. Well, we have problems... but we always manage to find solutions. You see, like it often goes with people, in fact, when you should not be sick, in the end, you're not sick ( :-). »
[hs] « Apart from the principal shows, do you sometimes contribute to, for example, film shootings, things like that? »
[es] « Very little, because... So, first of all, horses in films, that's something really special, that's the stunt horses, it's Mario Luraschi. It's a profession. It is something very different from what we do. You see, the horse has to do a special thing, something particular. That is not our job at all. On the other hand, we can... we sometimes do fashion things... Do a photo, for example... Photo's, that's possible. It's quite rare, it's more done at the Academy. But we've done photography sometimes. But no films. Bartabas though made two films, but that's because he "made" those films, he was their author. »
[hs] « That's something different. »
[es] « That's something different. »
[student] « But also, I think the shows are more kind of an experience and that’s great! You can make photos, you can make videos, but for the shows, you need to be here, physically; on film, it wouldn’t give you the same kind of feeling. »
[es] « Ah! Yes, that's the thing with live performances, of course. But Bartabas, it is very important, it's ... he indeed hás filmed every show, you see. And that's quite extraordinary. For 30 years. So we have the traces, we have the memory of every show, every show that was done over the past 30 years. And it's really worth seeing, if some day you have time to watch all the shows in their chronological order. You really see the evolution of an artist. So, it is not the same, there's not the emotion of a live show, of what you feel in the hall, the smells and so on, all that. But it does leave a trace, you see, for the generations that come and have not been able to see the live shows. It's still great, also on film... »
[student] « The horses, when you train them, they really understand the music, and they are supposed to act... eh ...? »
[es] « Er... it's a bit... you can't say... you can't... it's called anthropomorphism. You can't put yourself, project yourself, your thoughts, your human consciousness on the horse. On the other hand, it's true that you can make them get used to certain sounds, to certain... If you teach a horse to come back to you everytime when you crouch down and at the same time you make the sound of a bird, then he will understand that the sound of the bird means: "coming back to you". You see, you teach him that. But the horse, as I think, ..., like any living being, it is sensitive, it is receptive to music. But I would not be able to say that he 'likes' it or... you see, you can't know that. On the other hand, it's clear that he is sensitive to music, and there are areas of sound frequencies that he can't stand; which are not the same as for human beings. But just like us ... we won't be able to stand certain zones of frequencies as well. Besides, at the Academy, I had a horse... we played with really a wall of orchestra. And the horse got totally out of control. So we put him earplugs in his ears. And then it was fine. There were just some sounds he couldn't stand, that drove him crazy. So we put big foam plugs in his ears, about this big [ shows the size ] ... And after that the horse was calm afterwards. So, there were sounds he couldn't stand, but you can't say... project... man and horse, they're not the same. The notion of intelligence... the horse doesn't have the consciousness of death, you see, the consciousness of an animal and of a human are not the same thing. We shouldn't project ourselves, our dreams, our fears onto the animal. »
[student] « Sometimes they act different today like ... »
[es] « Yes, every night, every night is different. That's the beauty of this show. It depends on their energy, the warmth, the relationship between them... You see, the little donkey and the big mule, they live together. They are in love with each other. They met here by chance. They fell in love with each other. He is very young, she is very old. They became inseparable. But there are times, during the day, that things must not have gone well, and then in the evening they ignore each other. Or sometimes they are too happy to play together. It's actually their relationship that changes, it is different every time. So what's difficult in this show is to repeat the show every night, and to keep sort of a stable, a fixed frame, you see. We, as we know horses, we know that every day, we think about... that happened... maybe we have to change something during the day, to put them together, or not to put them together, not to take them out... We think about what we have to do so that in the evening, they manage to do what we would like them to show. But as they are free, you can't force them to. So you have to think all the time... how do you get them to repeat a certain behaviour, without you really having any control over it. »
[student] « I once read that it’s very possible that they pee every day at the same time. »
[es] « Yes, you're right. The peeing for us is a really bad thing. Because, indeed, a horse, may get used to peeing in the hall during the secne. And for us, it's very bad, because pee, urine, it has that strong smell, and so the horses afterwards, they will come to smell and... because a horse in nature, a full horse, a stallion, one that's not castrated... HE's going to delimit his territory with his pee too, and his dung. That's why we remove all the dung, for example, the white horse, the thoroughbred, Arabian horse, that one's very full. If you leave any dung in the track, he will go on the dung and it will cover it with his dung. So, there are a lot of quie complex behaviour... but that's in your genetic heritage, in fact, it's in your culture. »
[student] « and you cannot train them? »
[es] « No, you can't train him. But for example, if you have trained, it is because it is a kind of deviation of the... some horses have been taught how to make their dung before going on the track. Because, you see, a whole horse, he will make his dung on another horse's dung. So then, well if you have him smell dung, he will make his dung. You reward him, and then he'll understand. You give him a reward, a carrot. And after a while, the horse will understand that he will be rewarded for making his dung. And so, as a result, it allows you to have him make the dung before... for example, before going on the track. You see, you can use a natural behaviour. »
[student] « It's complicated. »
[es] « Yes, it's complex. The mating for example, it's very complicated... the vagina, the temperature, the pressure of the other, all that, it all counts... you have to know your horse. You have to know how the horse behaves before it's too late to change things. So, you need the slightest detail, you have to say to yourself: "Ah, there, that's ...". »
[student] « That's why you live togehter. »
[es] « With us, yes. Because you can't do this show with horses... also, we are attached to our horses, but not... I like horses in general, but you are especially attached to your compagnons de route, the horse almost as a person, you see. We could not do shows like these with just any horses. It's because we live together, that we have a daily relationship that is lasting over I don't know how many years, that we can do a show like this. Because we know the horses by heart. And they know us too. So they trust us. The battlefield that you saw in the show, for example, when the horse puts himself down on his back like that, normally a horse would never do that. Because in nature, the horse is a prey, that is to say, it is eaten by others. You have prey and predators. So we are predators, we have eyes in front, we have claws. And the horse has its eyes to the side, and it is prey. So he can't see in front, but he can see very well behind. We can see very well in front, we can't see very well behind. Because for the horse, his survival, is to flee, it's not at all the same behaviour as we have. Because we have chased him away, and he will be chased. And so, lying on his back like that, is not at all a normal and natural position for him. Because if he is in a position like that, he might die. It's death, it's having yourself been eaten. So he has to have a lot of confidence in you, in order to accept to put himself in that position and stay like that. This is really a very long work of trust. And then, you see, with a horse... if there is a person that you were angry with and spoke badly to, or you acted badly with it, after you can go and see that person, and you say : "Excuse me, I didn't behave well." With a horse you cannot go and tell him something like, apologize that you made him do too much physical effort, or you were too hard on him, or you were angry, you didn't behave well. You can never go and say that you're sorry. Horses will not understand that. And as a result, you must always, all the time, all the time, dose your work well, so that the horse always will continue wanting to see you again, to work with you. And also you should not push things too far, because the horse is very generous in his work. And there'se horses that could go as far as killing themselves at work... they go too far, because they will give everything... So you must always know where to draw the line. »
[hs] « And also on days when there is no show, you will still work with the horses? »
[es] « That depends on the animal. The donkey and the mule, we just take them out for a walk around. Each group of horses will do different things. It depends on their particular needs. It's like us, you see, if you need to run, to train your muscles, or... each one has his own thing. They go out every morning, we have them work out every day, also when there is no show. »
[hs] « The current show continues until the end of this year; And after that? »
[es] « It is extended until the 3th of March. »
[hs] « And then you take it on the road again? »
[es] « Yes, we go to five other cities in France. And we actually hope that in 2020 we can take the show to Japan, but ... »
[hs] « The Ex Anima show? »

zingaro ex anima

[es] « Yes, Ex Anima. Would be great. »
[hs] « In that case this particular show would run for more than two and a half years, no? »
[es] « No, no, because ... October 2017 ... that would make it two years and a half. And about eight months for putting it togehter... »
[student] « And so the guys that bring the horses onto the stage, they are the same ones that take care of them? »
[es] « Yes, they are riders. »
[student] « Also you can feel like you are like a big family. And that’s why I asked about the drugs. But you really see like… it’s very natural… and you don’t have a feeling like, you know, sometimes when you have ... in circusses, you know that animals, they have been threated ... »
[es] « Bartabas, he can't stand people saying the circus... we don't consider ourselves a circus at all, not at all. »
[student] « They seem happy. »
[es] « That, we don't know if they are happy... in any case, we try to... make them be as best as we can... »
[student] « They want to play. »
[es] « It's true, yes, they want to play... I agree... So and thank you all for coming! ... You should take some time to watch the clips that are on the internet, in the order of the show. I think on... it must be on Vimeo or YouYube. There are mini extracts, like 3 minutes per show. You should watch them in order, Bartabas, when he was very young. Because it's quite... Soon I'm going to change the info on Wikipedia, and put all the references will it. It makes you see the evolution of the theatre. It's quite impressive. Over so many years, it's... For you, it's great, you the.. »
[student] « There have been 15 in all? »
[es] « Yes, at least 15. Because Bartabas also did show in other theaters, so... He never stopped... »
[student] « It's his life. »
[es] « This is his life. And also, in fact, our job... Bit we don't consider ourselves to be doing a job. It's just that our life is mixed up like a job. So it's more than a job. We don't go to work. We live there, we get up, we... It's special, but... »
[student] « And those who take care of the horse, they already learned how to deal with them, or do they come here to learn? »
[es] « Ah! No, that's their job. No, this is not a school where you come to learn. They already know how to look after horses. They have the knowledge. »
[hs] « Is there a large turnover? People leaving, and others arriving ... or is it very...? »
[es] « There are 5 riders, and some have been here for more than 20 years. So there is loyalty. You have to be. People are loyal, because you can't rebuild a team every time. It's too complicated for the spectators. For trust, and even for Bartabas, it's... People stay. There is a great continuity. »
[hs] « But it does happen. »
[es] « Yes, sure. Sometimes people go, and sometimes people come... »

notes __ ::
(*) Bartabas is the moniker/performing name of Clément Marty, a French horse trainer, film producer and impresario, who founded the equestrian theatre 'Zingaro', in 1984. [ ^ ]
(**) It was on the 12th of March 1993, that with C. and our friend Akli and his companion ZjouZjou to Aubervilliers I went to see Zingaro's Opéra Équestre. This is what I wrote in a diary back then (in Dutch, and [sic]):

(March 13th, 1992)
"Gisteravond met C., Akli en Zjouzjou naar een circus-achtig paardenspektakel in Fort D'Aubervilliers (een houten bouwsel vlak bij het metrostation met dezelfde naam) getiteld 'Opera Equestre/Zingaro'. Paardenakrobatiek geflankeerd door Berber-(vrouwen)zang en een Georgische (mannen)-zang. De spektakelstukken werden afgewisseld door stukjes ballet voor man en paard, begeleid door enkel de nu ingetogen muziek van een eenzame altviool. En juist deze paardenstukjes maakten enorm veel indruk op mij. Een bizar soort poëzie. De gespierde ruiter/dresseur ziet er uit als een soort slager soortement slager of cowboy-zonder-hoed en voert de meest uiterst esthetisch:sierlijke bewegingen uit, in perfecte eenheid met zijn paard-partner, verleid het dier hem te volgen, de boog van zijn hand, soms als ware het een paringsdans. Ja, in feite bij vlagen uitermate erotisch, die combinatie van gratie en beest, stront en de ranke lijn. De man en het paar zijn sámen een centaur."


[English translation:] "Last night with C., Akli and Zjouzjou to a circus-like horse show at Fort D'Aubervilliers (a wooden structure near the metro station of the same name) entitled 'Opera Equestre/Zingaro'. Horse acrobatics flanked by Berber (women's) singing and a Georgian (men's) singing. The spectacles were alternated with pieces of ballet for man and horse, accompanied only by the now subdued music of a solitary viola. And precisely these horse pieces made enormous a great impression on me. A bizarre kind of poetry. The muscular rider/dresser looks like a kind of a butcher or cowboy-without-hat and performs the most aesthetic/graceful movements, in perfect unity with his horse-partner, seduces the animal to follow him, the bow of his hand, sometimes as if it were a mating dance. Yes, in fact at times extremely erotic, this combination of grace and beast, shit and a slender line. The man and the horse together are one, a centaur." [ ^ ]

tags: pamp, papam, Zingaro

# .501.

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