Wayne McGregor’s style and rigorous talent has earned him two of the top jobs in British dance - not only is he the resident choreographer at The Royal Ballet but he’s also director of his own troupe, Random, which is a resident company at Sadler’s Wells.
A scene from Atomos at Sadler's Wells, London Photo: Tristram Kenton
The new piece is characterised by McGregor’s innovative, often quirky collaborations, and his ongoing enquiry into both the choreographic process and the capabilities of the body. However, these often intellectualised concerns - the programme notes read like a masters degree in social anthropology - distract from what is an extraordinarily accomplished piece of choreography.
Atomos is an ensemble work for 10 dancers. It features a series of plot-less duets and group dances in McGregor’s signature style best described as a kind of calligraphy for the body. There are anemone-like arms, and insect legs, with wrists and elbows, ankles, knees and hips all articulated like the curled serifs of non-Latin scripts. It is a sharp, thorn-like form, augmented in Atomos with noticeably free-er runs and leaps.
The dancers perform with great flair, although the designs are possibly less assured and less confidently integrated into the whole than previous McGregor ballets. The video projections in particular, including a 3D sequence (complete with 3D glasses for the audience), and the “groundbreaking wearable technologies” as the programme put it, add little to the master dance making.