7 November 2016 at 11.53am | 1 Comment
Ten years of creating and inspiring
Autumn 2016 marks Wayne McGregor’s tenth anniversary as Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet. The Company is celebrating the occasion twice over: with a mixed programme of McGregor works on the main stage, including a world premiere; and with a preceding programme of new works by Charlotte Edmonds and Robert Binet, two young choreographers recently mentored by McGregor. The two programmes together show two crucial elements of McGregor’s work: not only to create, but also to inspire and to share. As McGregor says, ‘Dance has always been a reciprocal art form, an art form of exchange’.
Charlotte Edmonds’s Meta
British choreographer Charlotte Edmonds is the first participant on The Royal Ballet’s Young Choreographer Programme, through which she is mentored by McGregor and Kevin O’Hare. In her first year Edmonds shadowed other choreographers and created works for The Royal Ballet’s Draft Works (a series established by McGregor for the performances of works in progress), as well as for other companies. Now at the beginning of her second year, Edmonds has created her first fully-formed work for the Company, in this mixed programme. Meta sets four individuals in ‘an unknown environment’, in which ‘they immerse themselves in the ethereal, while developing material relationships with each other’.
Robert Binet’s Void and Fire
Canadian choreographer Robert Binet’s relationship with The Royal Ballet began in 2011, when he applied to McGregor’s workshop DanceLines. As Binet was too young to be offered a position, McGregor instead invited him to observe. The Company went on to appoint Binet as its first Choreographic Apprentice, a role created for him. He has since made numerous works at the Royal Opera House, for companies including Studio Wayne McGregor and Ballet Black. Like Edmonds, he now creates his first full work for the Company with Void and Fire, a work inspired by how ‘individuals – so different, even sometimes opposite – can come together to create extraordinary beauty and love in the world’.
McGregor ‘has a great history of working with some really interesting collaborators’, says Binet, and brings ‘incredibly talented people into his works. So it felt in keeping with a piece born to celebrate his work, to follow in that tradition’. For this mixed programme, Edmonds and Binet have invited architects Julia Backhaus and Martin Tang to transform the Clore Studio from its everyday function as a dance studio into an immersive, intimate theatre. They’ve created an in-the-round performance space, suspended above which is a huge structure of looping catenary curves, suspended from the four corners of the Clore’s high ceiling. ‘I don’t think it will feel like a regular theatre’, predicts Backhaus. ‘You can hear the breathing of the dancers. You are exposed to the dancers’ bodily expressions in such a close way.’
‘Dance is a reciprocal art form’
Edmonds and Binet have each taken different approaches to the musical settings for their works. Binet has used two pieces by acclaimed American composer Missy Mazzoli, while Edmonds has brought together a group of works from different artists (including composers Julia Kent, Dustin O’Halloran and Matt Dunkley and German band Lambert) arranged for string ensemble and piano. Completing the creative teams for each ballet is a mixture of new and familiar faces. Lighting designer Natasha Chivers, well known for her collaborations with Christopher Wheeldon, works across both pieces to light Backhaus and Tang’s architectural structure. Costume designer Ilaria Martello, a costume supervisor at the Royal Opera House, designs the costumes for Void and Fire, while fashion designer Robert Wun makes his dance debut in Meta. All reflect McGregor’s vision of dance as an art form that thrives on the input of several individual creative forces – a theme reflected in the narratives of both these new works.
The programme of new works by Charlotte Edmonds and Robert Binet runs 10–19 November 2016. Tickets are sold out, but returns may become available.