Wayne McGregor | Random Dance was founded in 1992 and became the instrument upon which McGregor evolved his drastically fast and articulate choreographic style.
It was during his major trilogy The Millennarium (1997), Sulphur 16 (1998) and Aeon (2000) that the company became a byword for its radical approach to new technology, incorporating animation, digital film, 3D architecture, electronic sound and virtual dancers into live choreography.
With collaboration at the centre of his practice, McGregor has innovated new work with world-class artists from a broad range of disciplines. These have included visual artists Shirazeh Houshiary, John Pawson, Julian Opie and Tatsuo Miyajima; composers Scanner, Plaid, Joby Talbot, Jon Hopkins, The White Stripes and Kaija Saariaho; and film-makers Jane and Louise Wilson, Ravi Deepres and Frederick Wiseman. This unique, tenacious questioning between artists and artistic mediums, across the interface of science and art, through the body and mind has ensured that Wayne McGregor | Random Dance has remained at the forefront of contemporary arts for the past 20 years.
In 2002 Wayne McGregor | Random Dance was invited to become a Resident Company at Sadler’s Wells. The invitation acknowledged their status as one of Britain’s most important modern dance companies.
Technology has also been crucial in Wayne McGregor | Random Dance’s effort to deliver dance to the public in new ways. Among the company’s groundbreaking projects have been webcasting live performances and exploring broadband (ATM) bi-directional performance where two companies perform simultaneously in different parts of the world. The results are experienced by both live and online audiences. It has also incorporated technology into its outreach work, which is high on the creative agenda. The company’s Creative Learning team engages hundreds of young people each year in school and community projects that focus on the creation of new work; in 2012 they led a major new public work to mark the Olympics, Big Dance Trafalgar Square, which involved almost 1000 participants from over 30 groups across London.
Regularly supported by the British Council, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance tours frequently to some of the most prestigious world theatres: Het Musiektheater, Amsterdam; Lyon Opera; Tel Aviv Opera; Lincoln Center, New York and Dansens Hus, Stockholm. The company’s European tours have ranged from Ireland, France, Germany, Belgium and Holland to Poland, Hungary, Cyprus and Turkey. Wayne McGregor | Random Dance has also performed in Russia, Israel, Japan, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Colombia, North America and Australia. In 2002 it became the first British dance company ever to tour central Asia and the Caucuses. The company has also made several cinema and television appearances including The Spirit of Diaghilev (BBC Four, 2009) The South Bank Show, Wayne McGregor: Across The Threshold (ITV1, 2009); La Danse by Frederic Wiseman (on global release – 2010), The Culture Show (BBC Two, 2010), and a Channel 4 documentary on Big Dance (2012).
In 2003 McGregor was appointed Research Fellow of the Department of Experimental Psychology at Cambridge University. AtaXia (2004) arose from the six months he worked with the department exploring the interface between mind and body. Every subsequent Wayne McGregor | Random Dance production – Amu (2005), Entity (2008), Dyad 1909 (2009), FAR (2010), UNDANCE (2011) and Atomos (2013) – has built on this growing fascination McGregor has for engaging directly with scientists who share their knowledge of the body and mind. This exploration is now ‘housed’ under the department of R-Research (Random Research).
Wayne McGregor | Random Dance is Resident Company of Sadler’s Wells, London. Wayne McGregor is the Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden and was the government’s first Youth Dance Champion. In January 2011 he was awarded a CBE for his Services to Dance.
By Judith Mackrell
(FAR photo, Ravi Deepres; Wayne McGregor photo by Linda Nylind)