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Alastair Marriott’s acclaimed 2014 ballet explores ideas of identity, growth and loss, with designs by Es Devlin and music by Arvo Pärt.

Most recent performance

There are currently no scheduled performances of Connectome. It was last on stage 6–24 October 2015.


On her journey through life, a woman’s self is shaped by her interactions with two men. A small corps of four men provide a backdrop of activity, stepping forwards to dance with the three principals as they all create connections.


In Dr Sebastian Seung’s 2012 book Connectome he argues that ‘our identity does not lie in our genes, but in the connections between our brain cells – our own particular wiring, or “connectome”’. Alastair Marriott, a regular choreographer for The Royal Ballet and a Principal Character Artist with the Company, found inspiration in Dr Seung’s theories. His ballet Connectome melds classical technique with a hyper-extended language of movement in its narrative of one lost woman. The work is deeply personal: Marriott explains, ‘My father was diagnosed with cancer and the ballet started to become more and more about loss; the connectome was almost like a horrible cancer growing behind the dancers’. Ephemeral, elegant and poignant, Connectome has been described as Marriott’s finest work yet.

Marriott selected works by Arvo Pärt for the score, drawn to the ability of Pärt’s music to speak to a universal spirituality independent of religion. The cycle of four works in the ballet includes the much-loved Fratres and Silouans Song. Es Devlin (Don Giovanni, London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony), in her first work for The Royal Ballet, created ‘visually breathtaking’ designs (New York Times), illuminated by Bruno Poet’s lighting design and Luke Hall’s innovative video displays.

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