The limitless potential of dance

Far features 10 dancers who will perform against an immersive backdrop of light and shadow, a haunting score by Ben Frost and 3,200 LED lights

December 05, 2017 03:59 pm | Updated 03:59 pm IST

Fans of Harry Potter would remember the much-anticipated Yule Ball in the film version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire , and the jaw-dropping performances by the students of Durmstrang Institute and the Beauxbatons Academy upon their entrance into Hogwarts.

The man behind the magic of their movements, Wayne McGregor, also the man behind the powerful movement language of the ‘Obscurus’ Credence in the deeply enchanting prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them , is now presenting his choreography in Bengaluru through the performance of Far.

“The piece, which I made in 2010, unreels layers of creativity. It is inspired by the Age of Enlightenment, a period when scientists and artists thought about understanding the body in a different way. It was the first time that human autopsies were conducted. Everybody was thinking about the nature of the self,” explains Wayne, who is presenting Far as part of a collaboration between the British Council and Studio Wayne McGregor.

“At the same time, we were also working with a team of neuroscientists in London, to understand how we are making the dance, whether we are instinctive, sometimes intuitive, or we are repeating habits. It was a different kind of looking inside the body. We thought it would be interesting to explores these things together.”

The creative process was sparked off by a book that Wayne read, called Flesh in the Age of Reason by Roy Porter.

“It was provocative in terms of thinking and in terms of that period, which is a period of agitation. I think about it now with respect to the future — of Artificial Intelligence, drones and robotics. We have similar questions in different domains and I feel they were close,” says Wayne, who has choreographed over 30 works for Company Wayne McGregor. He is also the Resident Choreographer at the Royal Ballet, and has worked with some of the most renowned ballet companies the world including the Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet. He has won several awards including a CBE for Services to Dance.

Far features 10 dancers who will perform against an immersive backdrop of light and shadow, a haunting score by Ben Frost and 3,200 LED lights.

“The choreography was a process of physical thinking, where the dancers and myself worked together to author the material, to be creative. The dancers perform in an environment that is otherworldly, extreme, physical, and powerful. Sometimes it is confronting and sometimes, seductive. This is one of the most wonderful things about dance, there are so many possibilities and potentials, starting from one place.”

While technology is something Wayne has grown up with and deeply informs his work, he believes that dance is also intimately connected with the biological sciences.

“We are always trying to understand, through imagination and through the sciences, how the heart works or what embodied cognition is about. We live in bodies, our bodies are our instruments in dance. And so it feels like a natural extension.”

He describes his style of choreography as “dysfunctional, bold and misbehaving.”

“It is visceral, impactful, sometimes brutal and sometimes lyrical. But on the whole, I would say, it’s unfamiliar and strange but it is a language that you have to get to know, by watching over and over again.”

He would like audiences to come with an open mind, hijack what speaks to them and put them together to see what it means.

“I want them to work at it. It’s not accidental. I think the piece is evidence of a collection of decisions that we make in a process and in a way, like a good detective, a good audience member looks at the evidence and tries to piece that together in an intellectual and emotional way. Otherwise the audience is missing out on the richness of the work. What audiences need to do is be open and hopefully, I have got enough premise to keep them excited to do that.”

Far will be presented on December 6 at 7.30 pm at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall. For details and tickets, visit .

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