The Royal Ballet
Johann Sebastian Bach
Set and Costume Design
Premiere date and venue
7 February 2014, The Royal Opera House, London
'WAYNE McGREGOR IS ONE OF THE MOST INTELLECTUALLY CURIOUS OF DANCE-MAKERS'
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'
Images by Johann Persson © ROH.