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Introduction

A dynamic opening and closing ensemble frame a series of episodes of varying emotion and mood set to Ligeti's virtuoso piano music.

Background

Polyphonia is the first of three ballets that Christopher Wheeldon has created to the piano music of György Ligeti. It was made for New York City Ballet in 2001, and was followed in 2002 by Continuum and Morphoses. Polyphonia arrived at The Royal Ballet in 2003, providing a timely celebration of Ligeti’s 80th birthday.

Wheeldon has described Ligeti’s piano music as a ‘complex, twisted, layered world’, and in Polyphonia he combines it with choreography of great subtlety and elegance. Polyphonia begins with an ensemble for the full cast of eight dancers and then moves into a series of duets and solos – each with its own distinct character – before culminating in a bravura final ensemble. Wheeldon received the Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Choreography in 2001 for Polyphonia and the piece won an Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production in 2002.

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