5 Reasons You Need to See Volt

Posted on 25 September 2019 By Rose Mulready

McGregor x Topp. Contemporary dance makers at the height of their powers. The wildest possibilities of human movement. Plug in to the source with Volt.

Wayne McGregor

In 2006, Wayne McGregor's Chroma rocked Covent Garden on its heels. It was if he'd sped ballet up and stretched it like Silly Putty - then thrown The White Stripes' garage rock at it. Three years later, he made Dyad 1929 on our dancers. His fast-forward style was given extra oomph by Steve Reich's driving Double Sextet and the black-on-white pop of the set. A decade on, after working with Radiohead, the Chemical Brothers and Gareth Pugh, McGregor is still at the forefront of dance innovation, and these early works come out of the starting gates just as hard.

Tzu-Chao Chou and Lana Jones in Dyad 1929. Photography Jim McFarlane

Alice Topp

Our newest resident choreographer broke on the scene in 2010 with Trace, a work featuring stretchy costumes that were part of the choreography. Her 2018 piece Aurum blew the roof off our Verve season and shone at New York's Joyce Theater. Her follow-up will be Logos, begun as a project with Company Wayne McGregor and now expanded to a one-act piece for our dancers. Like Aurum, Logos will feature music by Ludovico Einaudi, and explore the landscape of emotional pain and growth.

Callum Linnane and Coco Mathieson in Aurum. Photography Kate Longley

A MUSICAL ROLLERCOASTER

How did we go so far (and so fast) in the space of three scores? For Chroma, Joby Talbot, who wrote the magical music for Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland©, uses eccentric orchestration to twist and embellish The White Stripes. In Double Sextet, Steve Reich, a legend of the minimalist movement, pits two identical ensembles (flute, clarinet, vibraphone, piano, violin and cello) against each other to produce music that collides, colludes and intertwines. Ludovico Einaudi, Alice Topp's musical muse, creates simple structures from strings, piano and silence that build to a pitch of emotional resonance. You could get a ticket's worth of pleasure without even opening your eyes.

SUPERHUMAN MOVES

You won't want to blink for fear of missing a moment of movement that beggars belief. The ballet body is designed by nature and trained over decades to perform wonders. In McGregor's choreography, our dancers' powers are turned up to eleven: speed, stretch, height and the sheer command of complexity will leave you open-mouthed. Topp's movement language turns her dancers into subtle instruments that convey worlds of experience and countless layers of nuance, inspiring a seismic awe.

Andrew Killian and Leanne Stojmenov. Photography Jess Bialek

DAZZLING DESIGN

For both McGregor and Topp, design is as important an element as movement or music. McGregor chose the celebrated architect John Pawson to come up with the ingeniously simple shadow box that houses Chroma, and worked closely with Lucy Carter and Moritz Junge on the stunning monochromatics of Dyad 1929. Jon Buswell, who created the rolling, shimmering golden world of Aurum, will collaborate with Topp on Logos.

Danielle Rowe and Adam Bull in Dyad 1929. Photography Jim McFarlane