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Northrop Dance Opens With Wayne McGregor Random Dance 9/11


Northrop Dance at the University of Minnesota announces its Minnesota debut of London's hottest choreographer and his dance company, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance. McGregor and his company are the first event of the exciting 09//10 Northrop Dance Season under the fresh curatorial eye of new director, Ben Johnson. Random Dance brings us their newest performance Entity, which is based on collaborative research with psychologists, neuroscientists, and software engineers about the relationship between the brain and the moving body.

"It looks like nothing else on earth." -The Independent
"The steps unfold with startling clarity and breathtaking invention. You don't need to know what he is doing to appreciate that he is doing something different." -THE TELEGRAPH
McGregor's creation is a staggering blend of athletic bodies, lights, technology, and film. Entity breaks boundaries and defies categorization confirming its place at the cutting edge of contemporary culture.

Entity, an hour-long performance, is the result of a three-year research project with scientists from the University of Cambridge, University of California San Diego, and Sussex. The goal was to create a software sequence of artificially intelligent, self-ruling choreographic agents that could produce unique choreographic problem-solving, new to dance. These agents react choreographically to environmental stimuli along with specific tasks laid out for them, all the while learning from the experience.

McGregor's long, fast, and sharp physicality defines his choreographic vocabulary, and his dancers translate his movements into their own fierce and visceral movement. Ten of McGregor's hyper-limber dancers move to the beat of two of the hippest new musical talents working today - Jon Hopkins and Joby Talbot. Talbot (The Divine Comedy, Chroma) has written a propulsive string quartet pitched against the sonic extremes of Hopkins' (Massive Attack, Coldplay) electronic melody. Linbury award-winning set designer Patrick Burnier has created a multi-screen installation with film/video by Ravi Deepres, and lighting by the award-winning Lucy Carter.

This presentation will also be the featured closing event as part of the Arts Midwest Conference.

Individual Northrop Dance tickets ($10-$55) on sale through the Northrop Ticket Office at 612-624-2345, or room 105 Northrop, 84 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, or online at Ask for available discounts. U of M students may purchase $10 per ID at any time in designated seating, and may purchase 1 rush ticket ($10) per ID in any seating area on the day of the performance. Season tickets are also on sale now ($40-$402). Visit for more information.

Educational Event: Choreography and the Brain: A Conversation with Wayne McGregor, Thursday, September 10, 2009, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm, Room 125 Nolte Center, University of Minnesota East Bank campus. Free and open to the public. Limited seating available.

In conversation with McGregor will be Matt Chafee, professor of Neuroscience and primary investigator at the University of Minnesota's Brain Sciences Center. This performance is part of the Thursdays at Four series sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study. For more information, please contact the Institute for Advanced Study at 612-626-5054.

Wayne McGregor | Artistic Director

"Artists and scientists share the same potential to vision, to think differently, abstractly. For intention to release instinct, we are not confined by boundaries: rather we need them to push against." -Wayne McGregor

"As a choreographer, my primary aspiration has always been the communication of ideas through the medium of the body - attempting to make sense of the world in which we live and commenting upon it, through choreographed language and form."
-Wayne McGregor

McGregor started dance classes during his childhood in north England. He began his focus on contemporary dance at age 15 when he studied dance at University College, Bretton Hall and at the José Limon School in New York. He founded his own dance company, Random Dance, at age 22.

The multi award-winning McGregor is one of the world's most inventive choreographers, renowned for his physically testing choreography and ground-breaking collaborations across dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science. In 2006 he was appointed to the prestigious position of Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet, the first in 16 years and the only one ever to come from the world of contemporary dance.

Since 2002, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance has been the Resident Company at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London. McGregor was also the government's first Youth Dance Champion in 2008. He is a frequent creator of new work for La Scala in Milan, Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and the English National Ballet.

McGregor's career to date has taken him beyond the conventional stage, creating site specific installations for Southbank Centre's The Hayward, The Saatchi Gallery, the Houses of Parliament and for the Pompidou Centre in Paris. He has also made his mark on the world of acting as the movement director for various theater and film performances, including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Jon Hopkins | Composer

London-based producer and composer Jon Hopkins is best known for his experimental work, especially playing classical melodies with technologically treated acoustic instruments in juxtaposition with the raw, metallic sound of electronica music.

Hopkins has released three albums: Opalescent (2001), Contact Note (2004), and Insides (2008). He has worked with many well-known musicians including Coldplay, Frou Frou, Imogen Heap, and Brian Eno.

Joby Talbot | Composer

Joby Talbot's music has been heard world-wide, including on the stages of the Royal Opera House and Carnegie Hall. He has written music for Hitchcock's classic The Lodger and Evgeny Bauer's The Dying Swan. Talbot's impact on the world of film was heard in scores for the films The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Son of Rambow.

Talbot's first collaboration with McGregor was on the work Chroma, which received the South Bank Show Award for Dance and an Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production. He was also commissioned to do an electronic score for McGregor's 2007 work Genus. He has worked with various other choreographers and dance companies, including Carolyn Carlson Company, and Morphoses, Britain's other up-and-coming choreographer Christopher Wheeldon's company.

Patrick Burnier | Set & Costume Designer

Burnier started working with McGregor when Burnier entered the Lindbury Biennial Prize in 2005, for which he won overall winner for his theatre design. His designs for McGregor take inspiration from the skeletal human body, and he has kept that idea in Entity with a bare horizontal shape that retains the idea of the skeleton and skin.

Burnier is resident designer at the Musèe d'Ethnographie de Neuchâtel, in which he collaborated with Anna Jones. He has collaborated with Jones on other projects as well. Burnier has also stepped outside the dance design box by designing a puppet theatre show called Le Vaillant Petit Tailleur. His most recent endeavor was a site specific show called The Brothers Size directed by Bijan Sheibani.

The costumes for the first part of Entity have each dancers' DNA fingerprint as the pattern, and for the second part, the costumes disappear, and instead, become part of the dancers' skin.

Lucy Carter | Lighting Designer

Carter and McGregor have worked together for many years, including his most recent outside projects, Genus, Chroma, which won the UK Olivier award for best new dance production, and Dido and Aeneas at La Scala in Milan. She also worked with McGregor and Random Dance on his projects Amu, Digit01, AtaXia, Nemesis, Dragonfly, Polar Sequences and Alpha, among others.

For Entity Carter uses organically created lighting environments, and then undercuts them with artificial mathematical structuring and codes to produce, as she says, "beauty but an intention to create disharmony and instability in the lighting environments."

Ravi Deepres | Digital Video Design & Photography

Deepres, an award winning, internationally known artist, is inspired by themes of individual and group identity. He has done collaborative work through commissions with Sadler's Wells, The Royal Opera House, and La Scala, and which have been seen in theaters and festivals internationally in places like Japan, Europe, and the U.S. His solo work has also been exhibited in the UK and Europe.

For Entity, Deepres combined natural stop motion with graphical moving image work to create a mathematical language.


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