"Guerilla Ballet" Crashes BP-Sponsored Opera Event in Trafalgar Square, London

Friends of a fellow Important Media writer — 3 ballet dancers — made a statement this week in Trafalgar Square, London by interrupting BP’s 3rd Summer Screen there. The ballet dancers danced a short piece based on Swan Lake, “with the classic tale used as analogy for BP’s controversial investment in the Canadian tar sands,” the UK Tar Sands Network reports.

swan lake activism london

The performance featured the White Swan being smeared by an oily substance and suffocated with a cloth.” The opera crowd respected and enjoyed the performance and gave the grand finale an applause and cheers.

Charlie Byers played the prince in the dance, Emily Coats played the White Swan Odette, and Will McCallum played the ‘BP’ villain Rothbart.

“The tar sands are one of the biggest threats to the future of our climate,” Byers said. “[T]hey are also destroying local communities and wildlife, trampling indigenous rights, and running Canada out of water and natural gas. It is a key time to pressure BP to withdraw, as the corporation has already substantially invested in the tar sands but will not start profiting for years to come.”

swan lake tar sands activists crash bp event trafalgar square

“Most people have never heard of tar sands, and BP would be happy to keep it that way,” UK Tar Sands campaigner Coats said. “We used classical dance – an unusual campaigning medium – to introduce the issue to a new audience. The performance was meant to be enjoyed, but also to shock, with a visible struggle between a vulnerable creature and a powerful oil giant.”

And McCallum, of the group Art of Activism, said:

“By sponsoring the Summer Screens, BP is bringing art to thousands of people, but it is also creating a false image which hides its dirty investments. Public pressure has in the past caused institutions to stop accepting sponsorship from destructive companies. Without being able to put its name by our beloved cultural institutions, BP would suffer a real blow to its public legitimacy.”

Great work by the trio and all who supported them. Indeed, much more attention needs to be put on the extremely harmful exploitation of the tar sands.

Related Stories on Planetsave:

  1. Tar Sands Pipeline Could Contaminate US Agricultural Water Supply
  2. Help Stop Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline {TAKE ACTION}
  3. The Most Destructive Project on Earth: Chevron Escapes Tar Oil Accountability

Photos via UK Tar Sands Network

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