Live Fire Exercise (Royal Ballet) 2011

Wayne McGregor / John Gerrard – Live Fire Exercise as performed by The Royal Ballet May 13th, 2011
9m x 7m artist - designed frameless rear projection wall

As with the other works in the Exercise series, Live Fire Exercise has been developed from a single image: a photograph from what is known as a 'live fire exercise' by the US Military, or an exercise using explosives. The photograph was sourced on the US military media interface site Defence Video and Image Distribution System:

In addition to existing as a room-based installation in the line of other John Gerrard works, Live Fire Exercise exists as part of a stage production, and in interaction with live performers. This instantiation of the piece was a response to the commission of choreographer Wayne McGregor, who choreographed to it a 25-minute performance by the Royal Ballet. The work premiered at the Royal Opera House, London on May 13th 2011.

For the production, the scene is rear projected at 9 by 7metres on a freestanding wall set upon an empty grey plane of a stage. In the scene the original location in Djibouti has been recreated in the virtual, and populated with military vehicles sourced in the original image.

Dancers : Federico Bonelli, Lauren Cuthbertson, Akane Takada, Ricardo Cervera, Eric Underwood, Sarah Lamb

Producer: Werner Poetzelberger
Programmers: Helmut Bressler, Matthias Strohmaier
Vehicle / Landscape Modellers: Martin Hebestreit, Ulrich Radhuber
Lead Vehicle Animator:  Christoph Staber
Vehicle Animator: Patrick Zeymer
Staging Design: Jakob Illera – Inseq


Live Fire Exercise (Royal Ballet) at Royal Opera House, 2011

13 May 2011 – 20 May 2011
Staging with a 900 x 700 cm artist–designed frameless rear projection wall

The Royal Ballet’s resident choreographer Wayne McGregor evolves his surprising series collaborations with artists in a world premiere for The Royal Ballet, wherein visual artist John Gerrard introduces a virtual landscape to the stage.  The real-time portrait of place unfolds to the enigmatic Tippett score Fantasia concertante on a Theme of Corelli, conducted by Barry Wordsworth, Music Director of The Royal Ballet.



Selected Press
Selected Press from Live Fire Exercise

Frater, Sarah: “Review – Royal Ballet Triple Bill”, The Stage, 26 May 2011

Dougill, David: “Military Manoeuvres”, Sunday Times Culture, 22 May 2011

Gilbert, Jenny: “Review – Royal Ballet Triple Bill”, The Independent, 22 May 2011

Jennings, Luke: “Pink Chiffon and Scorched Earth”, The Observer, 22 May 2011

Norman, Neil:  “Dance Review – Triple Bill, Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera House, London”, Daily Express, 20 May 2011

Nixey, Catherine: “Wayne McGregor and John Gerrard team up for Live Fire Exercise” The Times 07 May 2011

Thorpe, Edward: “Royal Ballet is under fire”, H&H Series, 19 May 2011

Crisp, Clement:  “Review – Royal Ballet Triple Bill”, The Financial Times, 18 May 2011

Craine, Debra: “An Explosive Experience”, The Times, 18 May 2011

Mackrell, Judith:  “Shock and awe take center stage in a ballistic assault on ballet”, The Guardian, 17 May 2011

Crompton, Sarah: “Review - Wayne McGregor, Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House”, The Telegraph, 17 May 2011

Winship, Lyndsey: “Theatre of Conflict”, Time Out, 12 May 2011

Craine, Debra: “Critic’s Choice”, The Times Playlist, 7-13 May 2011

Najdowski, Rebecca 'The Good, The Bad, The Real' Daily Serving, January 20th 2013

Working Drawing for Live Fire Exercise (Djibouti), 2011 giglee print on hannahmulle photorag 80 x 51 cm 20 1/8 x 31 1/2 in. Edition of 15 + 5AP Thomas Dane / Ridinghouse Editions.
Marines assigned to 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion instruct Marines assigned to 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit on a demolitions range and breaching course while in Djibouti. The 24th MEU is on a seven-month deployment as part of the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group. Marine photo/Gunnery Sgt. James Frank Credit:    ©
A mini-mushroom cloud billows behind Army engineers from E Company, 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment "Steel Tigers" and Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians attached to 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division. The detonation was designed to eliminate loose unexploded ordnance and illegal munitions seized by Iraqi security forces in Dhi Qar province. The battalion is deployed from Fort Bliss, Texas, to advise and assist the Iraqi army and Iraqi police in Dhi Qar and Muthanna provinces.
Marines assigned to the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion instruct Marines assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit on a demolitions range and breaching course. Elements of the 24th MEU are embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau, the command platform for the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
Live Fire Exercise in production John Gerrard Studio. Pictured : Royal Opera House stage at 1:10 and work in progress rear projection of central explosion from Live Fire Exercise. Photo - John Gerrard 1: 10 Model Credit : Jakob Illera / Inseq Design