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Introduction

This abstract ballet matches the raw energy of nine pop songs – performed live on stage – with innovative choreography.

Background

Wayne McGregor’s fifth main-stage work for The Royal Ballet channels all the energy, inventiveness and verve of contemporary pop and fashion. Music producers Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt created the score and assembled a supergroup of musicians, including Boy George, Hero Fisher and Alison Mosshart, to perform live on stage for the 2012 premiere. Leading fashion designer Gareth Pugh reinvented traditional ballet dress to create bold, angular costumes.

Nine pop songs, which explore love in its many forms, provide the ballet with a driving, visceral energy. The opening of Carbon Life sees 18 dancers take to the stage wearing simple, flesh-coloured costumes and lit by a soft glow. As the work progresses and they move through solos, duets and ensemble pieces, they acquire additional layers of clothing. McGregor’s choreography combines popular dance forms – such as jazz, disco and hip hop – with the idioms of classical ballet to create a bold and ground-breaking work.

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