Wayne McGregor Random Dance: Atomos at Sadler’s Wells
What do we know of atoms? What is their significance to humanity? How do they form our bodies, memories, connections with others? In a world where we rarely consider our make-up, Wayne McGregor explores, manipulates and plays with the concept of atoms, their presence in our own bodies and penetration into the formation of others. It’s not usually a theme that we associate with dance, but it is fitting – after all, our atomic constitution allows us to influence our form.
An exceptional melange of movement storms the stage. Bursts of ballet techniques, physical jerks, wrist clicks and finger twitches epitomise atomic structures and movements in a body of choreography that is beautiful and remarkable. Every part of the human body is used with exacting precision to give life to atomic existence. Interchanges are fluid like ribbons of water; pairings exude soft elegance; group work packs punches stronger than Holyfield; and soloists flutter across the stage like butterflies.
Aside from adept dancing, Atomos is a production that’s also strong on the optical. 3D screens are incorporated into the work, and although an innovative idea, the effect is not as impressive as the costume and lighting. The costumes, designed by Studio XO, hug bodies like a second skin, ensuring every movement is evident, enhancing the molecular theme. Lucy Carter’s striking lighting cascades the stage in hues of red, greens, blues and browns, meshing with the costumes as if they were one and the same. The result is breathtaking imitations of subaquatic and sundown scenes and sandy hues.
Although the 3D visuals are second to the creativity of Carter’s vision, a special mention has to be given to the programme where the dancers appear on screen in white silhouette. Projecting images of patterns in various proportions secretes a ghostly feel, as physical atoms metamorphose with technology. Comparatively, for the most part, dancers perform below the projections, creating more complex shapes that emit themes of nature, such as a raised hand to the sky.
Atomos is a difficult concept to bring to the stage. Traditionally thought of as more suitable to a science laboratory, McGregor breaks conventionality with an abundance of creativity. The result is simply stunning.
Wayne McGregor Random Dance: Atomos was a one-off event at Sadler’s Wells, for further information about future events visit here.
Watch the trailer for Atomos here: