Heads up: Royal Ballet triple bill

Pop, fashion, rap ... it's a polyphonic spree at the ballet

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

What are we talking about? A triple bill from The Royal Ballet, comprising two new works and a revival of Polyphonia.


Elevator pitch Pop producers, club fashions, Jungian theories ... it's the Royal Ballet, naturally.


Prime movers Resident choreographer Wayne McGregor's new piece is called Carbon Life, and he's got an interesting range of people helping him out. Mark Ronson and Miike Snow's Andrew Wyatt provide and play the music – a cycle of nine songs by Ronson, plus three orchestrated by Rufus Wainwright. Boy George, Alison Mosshart of The Kills, Jonny Pierce of The Drums, Hero Fisher and rappers Wale and BlackCobain lend their vocals, and fashion designer Gareth Pugh takes on designing duties. Liam Scarlett builds on the success of Asphodel Meadows with a new piece set to music by Rachmaninoff. Polyphonia is choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon.


The talent The principals in Polyphonia include Sarah Lamb, Leanne Benjamin and Lauren Cuthbertson.


The early buzz In The Telegraph, Roya Nikkhah predicted Carbon Life "will be like nothing ever seen before at the Royal Opera House. In what will be seen as a radical departure for the company known for its traditional productions of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, the Royal Ballet will present its first-ever fusion of pop music and ballet." (Not true: a Royal Ballet commission in 2005 used music by Jimi Hendrix). Apparently, the work will focus on "the Jungian theme of anima/animus and the theory of collective masculine and feminine unconscious" making it, as The Huffington Post put it, "as vague as possible for us to visualize. But based on our limited understanding of anima/animus – which refers to the suppressed inner woman in males and inner men in females – we're hoping this involves some gender role reversals."


Insider knowledge McGregor has also choreographed Thom Yorke, in a Radiohead video, "Lotus Flower".


It's great that ... tickets start from only £3, as the Royal Ballet aims to encourage young people and those new to ballet to give it a try.


It's a shame that ... popstars doing ballet doesn't always end well – take a bow, Sir Paul McCartney. At least Ronson et al aren't in charge of the dancing too.


Hit potential It's an intriguing prospect, and the range of names will be a draw.


The details Royal Opera House, WC2 (roh.org.uk), 5 to 23 April.