Choreographer of the month: Wayne McGregor
The Random Dance choreographer discusses recent piece ENTITY
What made you want to become a choreographer? ‘Initially watching John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever and Grease! I was eight years old and ballet and contemporary dance were not on my horizon at all. I didn’t have any opportunity to do those styles of dance so I did ballroom, Latin American, disco. I think choreography is partly about wanting to surrender to the visceral thrill of moving, and hopefully having something to say to an audience.’
What was the inspiration behind ENTITY? ‘I wanted to make a piece about something ‘other’, something external that felt as though it had its own grammar, syntax and sense of identity. The idea emerged from our research with cognitive scientists exploring the connection between brain and body. Initially we wanted to build a totally artificially intelligent ENTITY that thought choreographically but could solve other types of problems. Almost a “mapping” of physical thinking.’
What do you look for in a dancer? ‘What I need is an open, imaginative and curious artist. I’m looking for dancers that I can collaborate with in generating movement material, who literally think with their bodies. It’s not all about physical propensity, although technique is important, but I always look for dancers with very personal physical signatures – their own handwriting if you like.’
What do you hope audiences will take away from your work? ‘I want them to be surprised at what the body can do. We have such a normalising, often limited view of the body’s potential and I would like to re-address that. I love to show audiences bodies misbehaving, partly because I think it engages your eye in a way that clarity of line doesn’t. I also want the audience to do some of the work in constructing meaning – to become engaged in the ideas as well as the movement material. Contemporary dance can be as conceptually engaging as it is kinaesthetically powerful. I hope the work provokes debate.’
Random Dance: ENTITY, Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 27–Sat 28 May.