Tag Archive: Random Dance

Why Woolf Works works

woolfworksIt might seem an odd notion to base a dance performance on three novels by Virginia Woolf, but Wayne McGregor is a choreographer who makes his own rules. He proves that great prose can inspire and captivate in the same way that the rhythmic flow of lyrical poetry can.

Woolf Works was premiered to huge acclaim in 2015 and is divided into three sections: ‘I Now, I Then’ is based on the themes in Mrs Dalloway; ‘Becomings’ takes its cues from the surreal wit & vitality of Orlando and ‘Tuesday’ is inspired by The Waves, Woolf’s most experimental novel.

This final section is also named after the heading to the suicide note Woolf left for her husband. This letter, which begins “I feel certain that I’m going mad again”, is beautifully read by Gillian Anderson as a preface to the profoundly moving conclusion.

The revival of these pieces was a hot ticket at The Royal Opera House but has now reached a wider audience thanks to a live worldwide broadcast in over 1,500 cinemas and more than 35 countries on February 8th 2017. Continue reading



My song and video of the year is Sia’s Chandelier. A fascination with the video came first. Part dance, part gymnastics, 11-year-old Maddie Zieger’s remarkable performance is more about cathartic emotional expression than classical ballet.

Like Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance, it appears spontaneous even though it was meticulously choreographed by Ryan Heffington.

His own video about how he put these moves together is full of unconventional instructions like ‘wounded dog’ and ‘robot bird’. Zieger got the call after Sia saw her on Dance Moms‘ reality show – a fame academy-style TV show featuring aspiring starlets. stroppy coaches and pushy parents.

The song itself initially sounds like the type of formulaic pop song Rihanna or Beyoncé might perform, not so surprising since Sia Furler has written tunes for both these artists (Diamonds and Pretty Hurts respectively). Continue reading

If you have seen Thom Yorke’s spazzy dance to Lotus Flower or the fight sequences in Harry Potter’s Goblets of Fire then you already know something of the choreography of Wayne McGregor.

The weirdness of the Yorke video is what first directed me to McGregor and hence to his Random Dance company. I am now officially a big fan after seeing an hour-long performance by ten Random dancers as part of this year’s Ravenna Festival.

Entity is a marvellously inventive piece of action theatre and the ideas that lie behind the work are equally fascinating.

The project evolved from McGregor’s interest in cognitive science and its relationship with “the technology of the body”.

Specifically he consulted scientists to try to gain a deeper understanding what happens in the brain during the non verbal communication that lies at the heart of creating a new dance work. In other words, he wanted to understand the process of choreography more fully from a cognitive perspective. Continue reading


The new Thriller it isn’t!

Whatever else you might have expected from a video tie-in for the new album -The King of Limbs –  few would have imagined we’d be seeing a mad solo dance by Thom Yorke.

Radiohead could have commissioned a moody piece to go with this song (Lotus Flower)  to make them look cool. Instead I really like how they continually strive to wrong-foot the public’s preconceptions about  the band. Continue reading

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