Preview: Castle Nowhere, Royal Opera House, London

On the road to Nowhere
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The Independent Culture

The Canadian choreographer Matjash Mrozewski, 30, is to have a ballet staged at the Royal Opera House for the first time. His Castle Nowhere is set to music by Arvo Pärt. You might expect him to feel daunted, but he's taking it in his stride. "As much as I feel the pressure of the premiere - obviously, I do think about how the work will be received - I'm not that stressed out," he says.

The ballet - named after a collection of short stories by the US author Constance Fenimore Woolson - was inspired by Mrozewski's fascination with relationships and "whether being in one means risking one's identity". The work will be danced by eight members of the Royal Ballet, with the central duet performed by the principals Edward Watson and Zenaida Yanowsky. Watson is soon to reprise the role of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, and Yanowsky has recently danced the title roles in Sylvia and Manon, as well as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake.

In 2004, Mrozewski was invited to create a small-scale work inspired by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes for the Royal Opera House's Linbury space. His piece, A World of Art, was so well received that he was then asked to create a bigger ballet for the company. "It's not something I had even hoped for, because I am relatively unknown," he says, modestly.

Originally a dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, the Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève and the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Mroz-ewski stopped dancing in 2001 to focus on choreography. In May 2001, he made his main-stage debut with A Delicate Battle, for the Canadian company. Recently, he choreographed Dreamland for the Royal Swedish Ballet and Soft Punch for the West Australian Ballet.

Other works on this mixed bill include Christopher Wheeldon's Polyphonia, a series of dance vignettes, and Kenneth MacMillan's abstract ballet Requiem.

Previews tonight in the Linbury; on main stage from Saturday (020-7304 4000; www.roh.org.uk)

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