The avant-garde artist Wayne McGregor continues in FAR to defy the laws of anatomy and to call into question the conventions of dance. Fascinated by neuroscience and new technologies, the British choreographer was inspired by the book Flesh in the Age of Reason, where the historian Roy Porter recounts how the view of the body has evolved since the Enlightenment, starting with Diderot’s first encyclopedia and the first autopsies, and how medical discoveries challenged then-current beliefs about the mechanisms of thought and emotion. Conducting his own rigorous analysis of the mechanisms of choreography, McGregor is pursuing in FAR his studies on the interactions between body and mind in order to expand his vocabulary of movement, an approach that has resulted in several works including Entity, presented by Danse Danse in 2011.
How does the body express or inhibit an intention? What mental model is developed during improvisation? What parts of ideas are retained or rejected in the creative process? What modes of communication are involved in the process, and how are movements, sounds and verbal language used to incarnate concepts? Those are the sorts of questions asked by the choreographer – who often expresses his requests in a form of singing – in establishing a new framework for the creative process for FAR, so as to create new images and new movements.
Like the Enlightenment scientists who developed tools to further their investigations, Wayne McGregor is working on creating a Choreographic Language Agent. Unlike the LifeForms used by Merce Cunnimgham, this innovate software does not choreograph. It contains detailed information that allows the dancers to explore the movement in greater depth and to resolve problems by proposing choices that are compatible with previous choices, or that are completely different.
Apart from a highly original dance language marked by improbable contortions and extensions, the elasticity and articulation of the body, unusual combinations of movement and the incredible velocity of changes in direction of movement, FAR reveals a taste for powerful visual and sound environments. Consisting of a huge detachable rectangular screen and multiple sources of light, the futuristic set by rAndom international (unrelated to Random Dance) and lighting designer Lucy Carter (a long-time collaborator and award-wining designer) contributes to creating a surreal atmosphere set in motion by the entrancing music of Ben Frost (an acclaimed brilliant and experimental composer who has worked with Brian Eno).
A piece of great beauty that is fascinating for its intelligence and moving because of its emotional power, it invites the spectator to take a new look at dance.
“The style is clearly McGregor's own – the rippling backs, the tendril arms, the probing hyperextensions – but this is McGregor in evolution... a blazing, mysterious post-classicism.” (observer.guardian.co.uk, United Kingdom)
“The sheer novelty of the slicing angles and whiplash curves that flicker through the dancers' limbs and torsos has always been dazzling – for the first 15 minutes. FAR, though, sustains and follows through.”
(The Independent, United Kingdom)
Photo 1 © Ravi Deepres. Interprètes Alexander Whitley, Catarina Carvalho.
Photo 2 © Ravi Deepres.
Photo 3 © Ravi Deepres. Interprètes Alexander Whitley, Catarina Carvalho.
A shining star of the British dance scene, Wayne McGregor transforms our view of the body with this visceral, mathematical and sensual work performed by 10 virtuoso dancers. Intelligence and emotion are perfectly combined in an incredible futuristic set design.
Photo (Wayne McGregor) © Photo by Rob Moore courtesy of The Royal Ballet.
Wayne McGregor was born in Stockport in 1970 and studied dance at University College, Bretton Hall and at the José Limon School in New York. In 1992 he founded his own company Wayne McGregor | Random Dance and in the same year was appointed choreographer-in-residence at The Place, London.Wayne McGregor | Random Dance was one of many small-scale British companies emerging in the 1990’s but two features made McGregor’s work stand...Read more about Wayne McGregor
Wayne McGregor | Random Dance was founded in 1992 and became the instrument upon which McGregor evolved his drastically fast and articulate choreographic style. The company became a byword for its radical approach to new technology – incorporating animation, digital film, 3D architecture, electronic sound and virtual dancers into the live choreography. In Nemesis (2002), dancers duelled with prosthetic steel arm extensions to a...Read more about Wayne McGregor | Random Dance
Concept and Direction Wayne McGregor
Choreography Wayne McGregor in collaboration with the dancers
Original Music Ben Frost
Lighting Design Lucy Carter
Set Design rAndom International
Costume Design Moritz Junge
Dancers Catarina Carvalho, Travis Clausen-Knight, Alvaro Dule, Michael-John Harper, Louis McMiller, Daniela Neugebauer, Anna Nowak, James Pett, Fukiko Takase, Jessica Wright
Technical Director Christopher Charles
Technical Manager Colin Everitt
Production Electrician Ashley Bolitho
Associate Director Odette Hughes
Rehearsal Assistant Catarina Carvalho
FAR is co-produced by Sadler’s Wells, London, UK and by Peak Performances @ Montclair State University, Montclair, USA and is made possible in part by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
FAR is co-commissioned by Maison de la Danse, Lyon, FR; Fondazione I Teatri, Reggio Emilia, IT; Belgrade Dance Festival, Belgrade, SE; Belfast Festival, Belfast, UK; Brighton Dome and Festival Ltd, Brighton, UK; Laban Theatre, London, UK and DanceEast, Ipswich, UK.
Wayne McGregor | Random Dance is supported by Arts Council England, and is Resident Company of Sadler’s Wells, London and Associate Company of DanceEast, Ipswich.
Wayne McGregor CBE is the Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden.