A cycle of choreographic portraits based on McGregor’s genomic sequence, illuminated through dance + live electronic music by JLin.
“Wayne McGregor – one of the most celebrated and sought-after choreographers of his generation” – The New York Times
“[JLin’s music is] a brilliant example of contemporary beat programming, of bringing real-world meaning to dance productions, and of the choreography that must naturally accompany dance music that hopes to push beyond simplistic club tropes..Jlin’s genius is the embrace of a borderless-ness that, just like one piece of paper, can turn into a universe.” – NPR.
What does it mean to write your own life-story? For twenty-five years, Wayne McGregor has been making choreography that interrogates life through the experience of the body, moving intelligently in space and time. His practice has been far-reaching and sought out collaborators from a diverse range of artistic and scientific fields to investigate the nature of embodied cognition.
Now McGregor turns his attention to the body as archive, as he embarks on a cycle of choreographic portraits illuminated by the sequencing of his own genome. The first of these studies, Autobiography, is an abstract meditation on aspects of self, life, writing, refracting both remembered pasts and speculative futures.
Watch the trailer
Palimpsesting McGregor’s choreographic imprint over personal memoir and genetic code in a continuous re-imagining, Autobiography unfolds uniquely for each and every performance. Life, writing itself anew.
“Jlin, a young woman from Gary, Indiana, is one of the most exciting new practitioners of the [footworking] form…among the most distinguished producers of the evolving footwork sound. Her style is moody and always with at least a subtle sense of menace, but she’s fleet and agile too, able to balance the weightiest conniptions of beats and bass so that they seem to float….Footwork, as a habit, makes a game of sounding jarringly arrhythmic and impossibly funky at once, and Jlin is as good at that aspect of it as anyone.” – The National
Credits & Biographies
For Autobiography, McGregor’s creative team includes set design by Hackney-based artist and designer Ben Cullen Williams whose clients include Calvin Klein, Erdem and The Serpentine Gallery.
Music is by electronic musician Jlin, a former steel mill worker from Gary, Indiana, credited with bringing a unique sound to the Chicago-born footwork genre. She began producing music in 2008, and her track Erotic Heat featured on the 2011 Planet Mu compilation Bangs and Works Vol. 2. The song was later used to accompany a 2014 Rick Owens fashion show, and her debut album, Dark Energy, was released in 2015 to critical acclaim. Her long-awaited second album was released in May 2017.
Lighting is by long-standing collaborator and award-winning lighting designer Lucy Carter. She won the Knight of Illumination Award for Dance for Chroma (2008) and Woolf Works (2015), McGregor’s works for The Royal Ballet, where he serves as Resident Choreographer. Most recently Carter designed the lighting for McGregor’s immersive art installation and dance performances +/- Human at the Roundhouse.
Costumes have been created by artist and designer Aitor Throup, renowned for his work exploring the human anatomy through rich conceptual narratives. His debut runway show in 2016 for his own clothing label New Object Research received critical acclaim for breaking the boundaries of the standard catwalk format featuring life-size articulated puppets instead of models. In addition to running his own multi-disciplinary design house A.T. Studio, Throup is the executive creative director of G-Star RAW.
Dramaturgy is by writer and director Uzma Hameed, who has previously collaborated with McGregor as dramaturg on Woolf Works, Obsidian Tear and Multiverse, all for the Royal Ballet. Autobiography is her first collaboration with Company Wayne McGregor.
Ongoing science partners:
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, EMBL – European Bioinformatics Institute, Connecting Science – Wellcome Genome Campus Public Engagement, Wellcome Genome Campus Society of Ethics Research, University Medical Centre Utrecht.
Music by Jlin in partnership with Unsound.
Co-produced by Studio Wayne McGregor; Sadler’s Wells, London, UK; Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg; Edinburgh International Festival, UK; Festspielhaus St Pölten, Austria; Carolina Performing Arts at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA; Movimentos Festwochen der Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany.
Co-commissioned by West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong; Festival Diaghilev. P.S., St Petersburg, Russia; Centro Cultural Vila Flor, Guimarães, Portugal; Seattle Theatre Group, USA (music); Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London, UK.
Images: Ben Cullen Williams, Richard Davies, Andrej Uspenski.