7 November 2016 at 5.00pm | 6 Comments
Ten years of Wayne McGregor
Wayne McGregor is one of the most influential choreographers working today, and for the past ten years his influence on The Royal Ballet has been especially great. This mixed programme – The Royal Ballet’s first devoted entirely to McGregor – celebrates ten years since his appointment as Resident Choreographer, combining two of his classic Royal Ballet works with a world premiere.
The spirit of collaboration
Collaboration is integral to McGregor’s work. This is not confined to the usual design team required for a ballet, although his important relationships with costume designer Moritz Junge, lighting designer Lucy Carter and dramaturg Uzma Hameed are represented in this programme. Chroma’s set was designed by architect John Pawson; Carbon Life was designed by fashion designer Gareth Pugh; the set concept and design for Multiverse is by visual artist Rashid Rana. That’s not to mention the musical line-up, which includes specially commissioned works by Joby Talbot, Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt and Steve Reich. Furthermore, these performances of Chroma see an unprecedented collaboration between The Royal Ballet and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, five of whose members join forces with the Company’s dancers in celebration of the international reach of McGregor’s work.
McGregor’s second work for the Royal Opera House main stage was a sensation at its premiere in 2006, and swiftly resulted in his appointment as Resident Choreographer. The stark and striking architectural designs of Pawson, Junge and Carter create a startling setting for McGregor’s bold, angular choreography – and Talbot’s score combines thrilling arrangements of White Stripes song with haunting original compositions. It may be ten years old, but Chroma looks as fresh as ever.
Multiverse: An anticipated world premiere
A brand new work is at the heart of the programme. A world premiere by Reich, one of today’s leading composers, is juxtaposed with his earliest piece in celebration of the composer’s 80th birthday. Runner, a Royal Ballet co-commission, is an abstract work for orchestra, and sharply contrasts with the classic It’s Gonna Rain (1965) for tape. Reich’s use of repeating structures finds echoes in McGregor’s choreography and Rana’s set concept. According to dramaturg Hameed, the title describes the theory whereby an infinite number of universes simultaneously exist and are coming into being: ‘It’s a fascinating proposition’, she writes, ‘one that disrupts linear conceptions of time through a sense of partial views, repeating histories and possible futures.’
Carbon Life: a feast of pop and high-fashion
McGregor’s 2012 work Carbon Life is yet another startling musical collaboration. The dancers are joined on stage by a band, playing and singing a set of songs by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt. Along with Pugh’s extreme, body-morphing costumes, Carbon Life ends the evening in dazzling style.