Updated at 12:35 pm with apologies to Benny Goodman *
A bizarre balletic show played out today on the shores of Normandy, where President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, Queen Elizabeth and a cast of other world leaders sat for a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day played out in dance.
A cascading line of uniformed players, falling as they proceeded, advanced across a wide sand stage backed by jumbo-screens and the Atlantic Ocean at one of the beaches where allied forces landed on June 6, 1944.
Occasional cut-aways of the pool camera to the queen’s face and the presidents’ as well registered looks of perplexity.
D-Day commemoration through interpretive dance at Sword Beach Normandy. Most world leaders watching look confused pic.twitter.com/oFtK6Sejk1
— Lesa Jansen (@LesaJansenFNC) June 6, 2014
— DeclanFlynn (@DeclanFlynn) June 6, 2014
A striped-shirted bagpiper escorted the dancers as they got up on their feet and walked past the orange and blue globe painted on the sand.
As the narrative turned to the 80 days of bloody battle that followed the invasion and culminated in the liberation of Paris, the dancers portrayed the conflict with a swaying of arms and array of caskets.
The show, fast-forwarding to the defeat of Germany, climaxed with the arrival of dancing women joining the men in swinging celebration to the accompaniment of “Sing, Sing, Sing.” With camera cutaways to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, stone-faced.
When the show turned to the capture of the Nazi death-camps, the dancing ended.
The players stood in homage to an array of octogenarian veterans on hand with the world leaders. And then the red-dressed dancers escorted a few of the veterans to center stage and children wearing the flags of the world on T-shirts encircled them — the dancers, thankfully, sidelined.
The spectacle ended in a flyover of fighter jets trailing red, white and blue contrails.
— Agence France-Presse (@afpfr) June 6, 2014
* With apologies to Benny Goodman, for initially identifying the song played at Normandy as “Stomping at the Savoy.”