Saturday, April 11, 2009

Carnaval d'Aix

Every April, Le Carnaval d'Aix signals the arrival of spring. For anyone who has lived in Chicago, it has seemed somewhat spring-like since mid-February, but if the Carnaval is any indication, spring actually started April 5th.

And what better way to celebrate than with a parade?

Every year the parade has a different theme. Last year it was animals, the year before that it was insects. This year, though, the 50th anniversary of Picasso's move to the Pays d'Aix (he lived just down the road in Vauvenarges), Carnaval was a tribute to Picasso and something of a pre-inauguration of the Picasso - Cezanne exhibition that starts at the end of May.

A Picasso-inspired float by the Rotonde:


Personally, these remind me a lot more of Nikki de Saint Phalle, but what do I know?

In any case, the parade's final act (a float/dance-troupe hybrid) was more obviously Picassoesque than the other floats I managed to get a picture of.

Periodically, as it made its way down the Cours Mirabeau toward the Rotonde, this float shot confetti into the air.

It was followed by a dance troupe of hundreds ranging in age from about 6 to 46, but mostly older teenagers.

At the Rotonde, most of the dancers dispersed, but the best ones got on stage and did a few special numbers that had been choreographed by an artiste (that's him on the left):

Here is a link to some pictures of the day taken by a regional newspaper.

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