Visit London Blog » wayne mcgregor Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wayne McGregor Unveils Plans for Big Dance 2012 Wed, 04 May 2011 13:41:23 +0000

Wayne McGregor today announced plans for Big Dance 2012. The world’s largest dance festival will take place over nine days from 7 to 15 July next year.

The Royal Ballet Choreographer and Artistic Director will lead a mass participation dance in Trafalgar Square as part of the festival.

McGregor – who started maypole dancing at school, before moving onto Latin, ballroom and amateur dramatics, and finally becoming a choreographer – hopes to encourage people “who don’t often dance but maybe danced in the past or want to give it a go”.

“What we’re interested in is activating hundreds of choreographers to make their own piece. What’s important is that everyone has the chance to make their own choreography,” he explained.

“There will be about 50 groups from London, from all different styles, all different ages. I’ll start to borrow and repurpose material to make a larger piece.”

Big Dance will be part of the London 2012 Festival, the finale of London’s Cultural Olympiad.

Ruth Mackenzie, Director of the Cultural Olympiad, said, “Big Dance is one of my best, most-loved projects in the Cultural Olympiad.

“It encourages people not just to watch but to do, whether you just go to the cinema and watch Pina Bausch, or whether you want to be the next Pina Bausch.”

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Big Dance: Big Plans for 2010 and 2012 Wed, 20 Jan 2010 12:23:17 +0000

Thousands of dancers will take to the streets this summer, as part of the London-wide Big Dance festival. Plans were announced today for dance performances, special events and workshops across the capital.

Perhaps thanks to the popularity of TV shows like Strictly Come Dancing, Big Dance has really taken off since its launch in 2006.

Big Dance director Jacqueline Rose said, “The vision is big. It will be the ultimate dance experience the world has ever known. 2010 is limbering up to be the year of leg warmers.”

Even the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, is “really looking forward to strutting his funky stuff,” according to his cultural advisor, Munira Murza.

Organisers also revealed that Wayne McGregor will head up the Big Dance festival in 2012, in the lead-up to the London Olympics.

Described by the New York Times as “the closest thing to a rock star” in ballet, McGregor is the first resident choreographer of The Royal Ballet to have a contemporary dance background.

“Whether you like to choreograph, perform or watch sensational dancing, Big Dance has opportunities for you to get involved, get moving and share your passion,” said McGregor.

“Big Dance 2012 will be no different except, in the Olympic year, it will be more ambitious, totally reliant on your powers of creativity and individualism to make sure that it’s the most adventurous Big Dance yet.”

Sign up to the Big Dance website to hear about all the latest news and events.

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Agon / Sphinx / Limen at the Royal Opera House Wed, 18 Nov 2009 17:22:47 +0000 Johannes Stepanek and Christina Arestis in Agon. Photo:Bill Cooper

The Royal Ballet’s triple bill of Agon, Sphinx and Limen at the Royal Opera House last night was an interesting lesson in the how modern classical ballet has developed. It was also, unexpectedly, an insight into the behaviour of today’s ballet audience…

The programme seemed designed to educate, starting with Balanchine’s Agon – choreographed in the 1950s, then moving to Glen Tetley’s 1977 work Sphinx, and finishing with Wayne McGregor’s brand new ballet, Limen.

Agon felt very much in line with the avant garde art movements of the late 50s and early 60s. It was apparently quite revolutionary for its time. However, the stark look (costumes were basic black leotards), feel (no discernible storyline) and soundtrack (Stravinsky) left me a bit cold. And my next-door neighbours must have been completely frozen; they didn’t return after the interval.

Sphinx started off a lot better – there was actually a set. And quite an impressive one too, with two gorgeous, sweeping wings made of metal and glass, and a gleaming “altar” in between. Edward Watson as Anubis stole the show for me here – looking incredible and otherworldly even when he removed his Egyptian dog-god mask.

Limen by the Royal Ballet Company‘s resident choreographer Wayne McGregror also began promisingly. A scrim with digital numbers floating across it fronted the stage, while dancers were randomly illuminated in puddles of light behind. Unfortunately, this show of technology prompted another near neighbour to bust out her digital camera, the glowing screen of which proved such a distraction I had to politely remind her it wasn’t a rock concert, while physically restraining my friend from biffing her one.

Situation averted, we settled back to the ballet, which was a celebration of lighting effects, block colours and clever movement. Thinking about it afterwards, I could see the correlation between all three ballets – each one visionary for its time; pushing the boundaries, while drawing on tradition. I might not have loved Agon but you could see that without Baly’s Ballet back then, we wouldn’t have the McGregor of today.

A quick straw poll at VL towers of audiences behaving badly has people chatting, texting, snoring and even vomiting in the theatre. What’s the weirdest thing that you’ve experienced as an audience member?

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