"A superb piece of dance theatre."
Commissioned by the 2012 Cultural Olympiad and the Hackney Music Development Trust.
Music by Julian Joseph.
Choreography by Sheron Wray.
The Brown Bomber is based on the heroic sporting battle between American boxer Joe Louis, the first African American to become a national hero, and German boxer Max Schmeling, bringing to life through music the connection between two athletes once adversaries in sport, whose friendship endured, despite the idealogical opposition by which they were both surrounded. It focuses on their mental battle inside the ring and celebrates their Olympic values of true sportsmanship, through friendship and mutual respect
The Brown Bomber recreates the historical 1938 rematch for the World Heavyweight Championship between American Joe Louis - The Brown Bomber - and Max Schmeling during the height of the Nazi propaganda campaign.
Schmeling had beaten Louis in 1936 and came to New York to face him again at Yankee Stadium before a crowd of 70,000.
Although adversaries in sport, they became great friends despite the ideological opposition that surrounded them.
"The Brown Bomber dance suite was a superb piece of dance theatre. The dancers embodied a multitude of characters epitomising the time of the second boxing match between Schmeling and Louis. The boxers' training camps with their attendant fans and young pretenders, the managers and coaches were all brought exquisitely to life through well-developed characterisation and well-chosen dance styling. Adding another layer of vivacity to the piece were the no-expense-spared costumes; it was like watching a dance version of the Bugsy Malone film."
Lewis Wheeler, Cloud Dance Festival, 24 June 2012 (4 stars).
The Brown Bomber is one of 20 outstanding new works, each lasting 12 minutes, commissioned to feature centre stage of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. New Music 20x12 is a UK-wide commissioning programme consisting of twenty new pieces of music, each of 12 minutes in length, celebrating the talent and imagination of the UK’s musical community as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
More info and resources available from the Hackney Music Development Trust.
Soundtrack recording available from NMC Records.