Ignite is a choreographic unfolding of a painting by William Turner ‘The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons’ (1835).

Turner based this painting on an actual event where a fire engulfed the Houses of Parliament while Londoners gathered along the Thames to gaze in awe at the horrifying spectacle. He used colour to convey the magnificent light and heat of the burning building. The image dissolves in brilliant swaths of colour and variable atmospheric effects that border on abstraction. This favours the elemental aspects of the conflagration that embodies Turner's theme of the painting. This in turn becomes the puniness and ephemerality of man's efforts in the face of nature, also referred to as ‘the sublime’ in the romantic period.

Turner captured the conflagration – its violence and its beauty – in a still image, addressing only the eye. Analysing the movement within this ‘stillness’ was the starting-point for Ignite. By translating the turbulent colours from the painting to the stage, the ballet encourages the viewer to think and dream about the painting and its subject from a contemporary perspective.

The burning down of the Houses of Parliament and its aftermath (which is left to the imagination of the spectator) triggers feelings of fear and insecurity. At the same time, this dramatic event offers new possibilities. Fire sometimes destroys or sometimes purifies, so that from the ashes a new world may rise.

The concept for Ignite was nominated (one of four finalists) for the FEDORA - Cleef & Arpels Prize for Ballet 2018.
After it’s première the ballet received a double nomination for the choreography and the music for the BENOIS DE LA DANSE PRIZE 2019.

Choreography: Juanjo Arqués
Music: Kate Whitley
Dramaturgy & Libretto: Fabienne Vegt
Set & Costume Design: Tatyana van Walsum
Light Design: Bert Dalhuysen
Choreographic assistence: José Carlos Blanco Martinez

World première 3 October 2018 // Birmingham Royal Ballet
Amsterdam premiere 14 June 2019 // Nationale Opera & Ballet