Magazine article Dance Magazine

Wayne McGregor: His Newest Ballet Is Inspired by an Unusual Source-Writer Virginia Woolf

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Wayne McGregor: His Newest Ballet Is Inspired by an Unusual Source-Writer Virginia Woolf

Article excerpt

Though Wayne McGregor's work is danced by classical companies all over the world, the maverick British choreographer continues to play by his own rules. For Woolf Works, based on the life and work of writer Virginia Woolf, to premiere at The Royal Ballet May 11-26, McGregor has a different kind of three-act ballet in mind--an abstract one. And he's asked former Royal Ballet and American Ballet Theatre principal Alessandra Ferri, who turns 52 this month, to play the lead.

Will this be a narrative ballet, as many seem to be expecting?

It's funny, because I never said I was making a narrative ballet! There has been a big resurgence in full-length narrative ballets, and I think we got obsessed with this particular way of telling stories. It's a brilliant one, but it's not the only way you can deal with complex emotional situations or multiple narratives. I thought this was a good moment to flex the opera house's muscles in a new way.

You're weaving Virginia Woolf's life and several of her novels together into one evening.

Yes, partly because her biography is so intrinsically linked to some of her seminal works. I'm looking at three novels, in chronological order: Mrs Dalloway, Orlando and The Waves. I want a section for each, so the three acts will feel different. But many scenes reoccur in Woolf's work: She writes about her novels being haunted by the presence of something else.

How will the movement relate to her style? …

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