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Most recent performance

There are currently no scheduled performances of Tetractys. It was last on stage 7–15 February 2014 as part of the Winter 2013/14 season.

Background

Wayne McGregor, Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet, created Tetractys in 2014. This one-act work continues McGregor's fascination with collaborations that extend beyond the world of ballet. For Tetractys he worked with American artist Tauba Auerbach, who created the set and costume designs. Auerbach is best known for her paintings but also works in a variety of media, including sculpture and weaving; her work is particularly striking for the way it addresses principles of mathematics, physics, language and logic. Together, she and McGregor selected J.S. Bach's The Art of Fugue, which was arranged for the ballet by Michael Berkeley.

The resulting ballet (titled Tetractys – The Art of Fugue at its premiere) fuses art forms that explore complex structural patterns: Auerbach's neon geometric designs that hang above the stage, a counterpoint to the vibrant coloured leotards worn by the dancers; McGregor's choreography for 12 dancers, riven through with transforming patterns; and Bach's masterpiece of musical invention. For McGregor, the numerology and structure of Bach's music is a spur to consider the human condition: 'when you listen to The Art of Fugue you can listen just in terms of its incredible beauty. You might not recognize all its inversions, or its subjects and its tonal shifts; you just get carried away with this incredible feeling.'

News and features

  1. What is a fugue?

    3 February 2014

    Unravelling a musical idea before the premiere of Wayne McGregor's new ballet, Tetractys – The Art of Fugue