Tetractys

Tetractys
2014

Company
The Royal Ballet

Duration
40 minutes

Choreography
Wayne McGregor

Music
Johann Sebastian Bach

Musical Arrangement
Michael Berkeley

Set and Costume Design
Tauba Auerbach

Lighting Design
Lucy Carter

Premiere date and venue
7 February 2014, The Royal Opera House, London

'WAYNE McGREGOR IS ONE OF THE MOST INTELLECTUALLY CURIOUS OF DANCE-MAKERS'

The Guardian

Set to orchestrated extracts of J.S. Bach's enigmatic final musical work, brought together an 18th-century work of great invention and Wayne McGregor's pioneering 21st-century choreography.

American visual artist Tauba Auerbach collaborated with McGregor for Tetractys, creating set and costume designs. Auerbach is best known for her paintings but also works in a variety of media, including sculpture and weaving; her work is particularly striking for the way it addresses principles of mathematics, physics, language and logic. Together, she and McGregor selected J.S. Bach's The Art of Fugue, which was arranged for the ballet by Michael Berkeley.

Tetractys fuses art forms that explore complex structural patterns: Auerbach's neon geometric designs that hang above the stage, a counterpoint to the vibrant coloured leotards worn by the dancers; McGregor's choreography for 12 dancers, riven through with transforming patterns; and Bach's masterpiece of musical invention. For McGregor, the numerology and structure of Bach's music is a spur to consider the human condition: 'when you listen to The Art of Fugue you can listen just in terms of its incredible beauty. You might not recognize all its inversions, or its subjects and its tonal shifts; you just get carried away with this incredible feeling.'

'Stands our for the intensity of the dialogue between music and dance'
The Spectator

Images by Johann Persson © ROH.

Rehearsal footage of Tetractys at The Royal Opera House.