Porcelain Delaney

Parade of the Disregarded | Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast

Picture by Dean Farmer Photography

I’m a disabled theatre maker with a background in dance, circus and cabaret. My intervention is a short dance theatre piece inspired by ‘Parade’ a proto-dadaist ballet. I love how Parade was a parody without sacrificing any form of quality. The set and costume design was made by Pablo Picasso assisted by the Italian futurist Giacomo Balla creating something unique and very visually striking. The Parade was first performed by the Ballet Russes in 1917 and was one of the first ballets to include aspects of popular culture that had previously been considered too 'low brow' for the 'elite' world of ballet. I believe art should be for everyone and I hate this idea of designated low and high culture forms. My intervention plays on this.

My costume is inspired by the alien Dada from Ultraman – the Japanese Tokusatsu 1960s drama. I love the unusual aesthetic; the black and white patterns. Within my intervention I’ve utilised those ideas to highlight the 'black and white' or 'one size fits all' approach we've seen from the government throughout the pandemic, with no consideration for those of us with differing needs who live in the grey or don't fit into the simple boxes they think all of society belongs in. The alien race Dada weren’t given names. They were classified by their class and identification number. Again this feels very similar to recent experiences that I am exploring within Parade of the Disregarded.

My extravagant styling also shares a nod to the Vaudevillian excess of the Cabaret Voltaire, which first kick-started the Dada movement in 1916.

Porcelain's cabaret acts have headlined all over the world at shows in Paris, Dubai, Switzerland and others. Her credits in the UK include The Circus of Horrors and Rigoletto. She is a 2021 Fellow with DaDa – an innovative arts organisation based in Liverpool and is currently being supported by the Arts Council to develop a solo show ‘Breeding Machine’, a comedy play about life with chronic gynecological disease and the inequality's in healthcare this exposes.

Twitter: @PorcelainDel

Parade of the Disregarded - 2nd July 2022

I arrived at Golden Thread Gallery thrilled to be performing in my home city at such a friendly and supportive gallery. The first hour was a whirlwind of make-up, marking up the space and running around getting ready. Soon enough it was time for the first part of my intervention. I performed a movement piece 'The parade of the disregarded' an urgent and timely story shown in three acts. As is typical of a first performance there were tiny things I weren't happy with: my toes could have been more pointy then, I was half a beat too fast.

I decided to truly embrace the spirit of DaDa for the day; Perfection isn't the goal, Art is.

So instead of going to my dressing room, rehearsing everything in micro detail until the next performance, I spent time in the gallery enjoying the other exhibits and meeting people. I was very blessed, a lot of industry came throughout the day as well as art consumers, so I got to meet a lot of different people.

The next two performances went wonderfully. I didn't want the day to end and wondered if I could convince DASH to let us do a WAIWAV tour next where we all visit all the participating galleries on rotation. Liz - the lovely manager at Golden Thread - asked if I was worn out at the end of the day. It was my first in-person job after a long time shielding and I had been a bit worried about energy levels and getting fatigued. I could honestly tell Liz I wasn't tired at all. It felt more like I'd had a wonderful day out than I'd been working and I hope to do it again at some point!


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