Wayne McGregor's new work was inspired by work he and his dancers did around psychology and neuroscience.
(Edited highlights of the panel's review taken from the teletext subtitles that are generated live for Newsnight Review.)
I think it's
important to see this work in the
context of what Wayne's always
tried to do. I think it would be a
mistake to look at this and say, oh
his interest is suddenly in
dysfunctional movement. That's what
Wayne does. The brain is a
fascinating thing as an audience
member, the brain loves symmetry, it
loves balance. It loves your
gardens with one hedge on each side.
But it also loves it when things
happen not as expected. Your brain
is immediately alert, something
goes where you don't think it's
going to be, it's got a different
energy, your brain is alert,
switched on, but it's also vaguely
unsettled. That's what Wayne is
trying to do. He doesn't want you
to be comfortable in the audience.
But the dancers
are so highly disciplined, and
yet they're portraying something
that cannot be disciplined?
They're not portraying ataxia.
They're absolutely not. Wayne's
taking that idea as a starting
point for choreography, which is
every bit as disciplined as the
choreography dancers always do.
I'd never seen his work
before so I didn't know what I was
coming to see. It was very
challenging, it was very brutal, it
demands a lot out of you. You are
not warned about what are you're
going to see, what you're going to
hear. It's exactly what I think art
should do. Art should make you sit
there and actually challenge you,
and the challenge itself becomes a
kind of symmetry. And it's a kind
of beauty that is very moving piece
of work. I really loved it.
The thing I thought was
odd about it is it's incredibly
engaging and very, very intense,
and fascinating. I too hadn't seen
his work before. And then suddenly
halfway through you get this video
which seemed to me entirely
irrelevant and breaks the whole
sense of concentration. And
actually you never completely
recover it again, I found.
I think to answer that,
to go back to what Deborah is
saying, the brain does try and make
symmetry, so we are trying all the
time - we are working all the time
to make this space work, so he
breaks it immediately like that.
But he did break it for
quite a long time. In a sense did
the multimedia experience add to
the dance for you?
No, I found it, as a pure dance, I
thought it was incredible exciting,
because you are extremely engaged,
and you know that it's not that long.
And that you're incredible engaged.
And then suddenly it breaks off and it
had back projections, so you get a
very intense light in your face,
and I found that terribly
unsettling and redundant.
Do you think one of the more moving
bits, particularly in the duet,
where the dancers very much appear to be helping each other, stroking each other, supporting each other?
dancers always seem to defy nature.
They do extraordinary things. They
go ways the body doesn't appear to
be able to go. But what's really
interesting here is that they give
in to nature. But not nature at its
most beautiful and celebrated, they
give in to nature at its cruellest.
And the sight of them at the end,
Odette's the final dancer to be
moving, and the lights go out while
she's still trying, she's still
trying to do it. She's battling on
with something. I found that
And the intricacy of the movements,
there are bodies where the
looks as if it's - look as if
they're in spasm. You
know they're not, but that they are,
and so it's that sort of relaxing
into his narrative, which is the big
challenge, I think.
What did you make of the
audience, because I thought there
was a fantastic range in the
audience, and an incredible amount
of really, really young, like 15 to
It felt like a cult thing. I mean, it felt
like something where people who
follow contemporary dance...
1,600 people a night is a bit
bigger than cult.
No, I wasn't saying that in a bad way.
I just felt I came into something
where he had a great following.
And I felt badly that I wasn't
familiar with it. But I felt
everybody was waiting to see it.
I'm glad I joined.