Picasso painting used as part of dance performance

Picasso painting used as part of dance performance

MADRID - Agence France-Presse
Picasso painting used as part of dance performance

Spanish dancer Joshua Ullate performs in front of the painting ‘Guernica.’

Pablo Picasso’s anti-war masterpiece “Guernica,” one of the world’s most iconic paintings, on April 27 served as a backdrop to a dance performance for the first time in its 77-year history.

About 80 people sat on the floor or stood as Josue Ullate, a bare chested dancer in black tights, jumped and leapt in front of the large black-and-white canvas at Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum.

The 20-year-old performed “Quiebro,” a piece lasting about five minutes and inspired by a song written by late flamenco singer Enrique Morente that mixes modern ballet with traditional Spanish dance, two times as part of International Dance Day celebrations.

It took organizers over a year of talks to get permission of Ullate to perform in front of the painting, which used images of distorted figures, human and animal, to represent the horrors of war.

The Reina Sofia Museum initially turned down the request but it eventually relented after Picasso’s family gave their support to the project, daily newspaper El Pais reported.

Tickets to the one-time event which was held after the museum closed to the public were distributed for free on a first come first served basis over the Internet.

Picasso created “Guernica” as a commission for Spain’s Republican government to represent the country at the 1937 World Fair in Paris, as Spain writhed in a bloody civil war started by future dictator General Francisco Franco. The painting took its name from Guernica, the ancestral capital of northern Spain’s Basque country.