A NORTH Wales mining accident has been turned into a ballet.
In 1880 an explosion ripped through Bersham colliery near Wrexham killing eight men instantly and one died later.
Choreographer and trained ballet dancer Richard Slaughter, who directs a new North Wales-based performance group called Ballet Pod, noticed the words on a headstone at St Mary’s Church, Chirk.
The epitaph on the gravestone of miner Edward Owen, inspired The Ballad of Edward Owen, Miner, which Richard describes as a “docu-ballet”.
The epitaph which set in motion the ideas for his dance piece read:
“In perfect health he left his home
“Not thinking that his time had come
“In a few hours his race was done
“Weep not dear friends – God’s will be done.”
On a research visit to Bersham, Ballet Pod discovered photographs, logbooks, accident books and other memorabilia which was a rich source of information for the production.
The open rehearsal for the production will take place at St Mary’s Church Hall, Chirk, on Friday, December 5. The company’s administrative director is Theresa Hall whose children Clare, 19, Michael, 16, and Ann, 14, all trained dancers, will be dancing in the new production.
Poetry, song, folk dance, and a new score composed by Michael present a moving testament and memorial to Welsh mining history, says Theresa.
The music is described as a collage of hymns, songs and industrial sounds.
The vicar of St Mary’s, the Rev Tony Rees has encouraged the group to rehearse all the dances and soundtrack at the Church Hall.
Richard Slaughter is a former Royal ballet and international principal dancer and director of Ballet Creations.
The premiere of The Ballad of Edward Owen, miner will run at The William Aston Hall in Wrexham on January 17 (tickets available from Wrexham Tourist Information Centre on 01978 292015).