Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Damsel Falls for Dragon

You're in this tower, waiting for something to happen, and there he is.  A huge, scaly beast, and the most beautiful thing you've ever laid eyes on.

Giant Horse Dragon (le Chevon Dragon Long Ma) is constructed by a puppetry company named La Machine.  La Machine is a company of performance artists, who perform though the mechanics of these giant puppetry forms.  The Horse Dragon was built to commemorate diplomatic relations between France and China, but let's be realistic here, nobody wants to hear about that.  The Horse dragon is 16 meters tall, and can gallop, lie down, blow smoke, and BREATHES FIRE.  Yes, you saw that, BREATHES FIRE.

Also featured in the video is Horse Dragon's sister, The Princess.  The Princess (or La Princesse for the French) is also giant in statue, and has been photographed appearing as if she is climbing buildings.  Suspend your disbelief.

These two amazing machines can breathe fire, smoke, spray water, and move in realistic ways and are massively bigger than anything found in nature.  Multiple performers are needed to operate the machines, and they are even followed by their own orchestra.

Aside from the amazing machinery and performance, the company have a park with a time traveling elephant and other carnival curiosities in France.  They have a complex carousel in the works, and they are trying to design puppet like machine birds that humans can ride and fly through the air.

It's incredible to see such innovation take place with one of the world's oldest art forms.  Seeing these images and videos made me realize how much I would  have loved to study this as an element of performance and theatre.

Last thing for now, though I can't promise not to geek out over La Machine in the future, La Machine is bringing the Giant Horse Dragon to Canada for their birthday celebrations.  (As seen in the first video if you were paying attention.)  This is the first time they will perform on this side of the pond, and based on the enormous cost of moving those machines here, it could possibly be the last.

Anyone want to go to Canada?

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