Today the ballets of British choreographer Wayne McGregor adorn the playbills of the world’s leading ballet companies – the Opéra de Paris, the Royal Ballet in Great Britain, New York City Ballet, the Nederlands Dans Theater and Russia’s Bolshoi Theatre, invariably amazing audiences. Through his interest in modern technology, in his productions the choreographer tries to produce a dialogue between dance and the latest multimedia achievements. In his ballets, alongside the dancers there are computer-generated figures and 3D architecture, digital video and animation are employed. And all of this in combination with original plastique. McGregor’s interest in the mechanics of movement produces enchanting results – refined body combinations in duets and the flow of mechanical poses you cannot draw your eyes from as they flow from one to the next. And despite the pure refinement of the beauty of the dance you have a sense of absolutely natural movement – the plastique reality is bewitching, it draws the audience into its own magnetic field that is created not by external energy coming from the music or the plot but from the form of pure dance in its own right. For his collaboration with the Mariinsky Ballet McGregor has selected the one-act ballet Infra, created in 2008 for the Royal Ballet in London. “The Mariinsky Ballet’s magnificent dancers give the choreography their own energy, they change its character,” says the choreographer, “When I chose to stage a ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre I really wanted something suitable specifically for this company that combines lofty technique and emotionality. Everyone has their own story to tell but in a crowd these stories are lost and, when doing their everyday tasks, people can become really lonely. I have tried to get into the hidden depths of the human soul and show people’s inner sides – prosaic, imperfect and vulnerable. Infra is about that, it’s just a ballet about people.”
The translation from Latin means “under, underneath”. The contrasting chaos of people’s everyday inner lives is visualised in the designs by Julian Opie: high up, high above the stage plane there is a light diode screen with a series of conventional walking figureless digital people, while below the screen to the resonant and piercing monotony of the strings’ melody (composed by Max Richter) twelve dancers tell the story of desires and collisions, passing meetings and lost illusions, wrongful breakups and unattained happiness.