Carbon Life

Carbon Life
2012

Company
The Royal Ballet

Choreography
Wayne McGregor

Music
Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt

Set and Costume Design
Gareth Pugh

Lighting Design
Lucy Carter

Premiere date and venue
5 April 2012, The Royal Opera House, London


Wayne McGregor's fifth main-stage work for The Royal Ballet channels all the energy, inventiveness and verve of contemporary pop and fashion.

Music producers Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt created the score and assembled a supergroup of musicians, including Boy George, Hero Fisher and Alison Mosshart, to perform live on stage for the 2012 premiere. Leading fashion designer Gareth Pugh reinvented traditional ballet dress to create bold, angular costumes.

Nine pop songs, which explore love in its many forms, provide the ballet with a driving, visceral energy. The opening of Carbon Life sees 18 dancers take to the stage wearing simple, flesh-coloured costumes and lit by a soft glow. As the work progresses and they move through solos, duets and ensemble pieces, they acquire additional layers of clothing.

McGregor's choreography brings together combines popular dance forms – such as jazz, disco and hip hop – with the idioms of classical ballet to create a bold and ground-breaking work.

From 10 November 2016, Carbon Life will be included as part of a triple bill celebrating Wayne McGregor's ten years as Resident Choreographer at The Royal Ballet alongside Chroma and the world premiere of Multiverse by McGregor with a commissioned score by Steve Reich. 
This revival of Carbon Life featured musicians Andrew Wyatt, Sam Sparro, Jonathan Pierce (The Drums), Brody Dalle, Rose Elinor Dougall, Dave (rapper) and Zanna Van Vorstenbosch. More information on the programme can be found here.

Images by Bill Cooper, © ROH 2012.

Wayne McGregor and DJ/Producer Mark Ronson discuss their unique collaboration for Carbon Life.