Sky Fairchild-Waller, member of the artistic direction team at Harbourfront Centre, shares an insider's view on Toronto's latest buzz show: Entity is a spectacle of movement that fuses together dance and technology in a seamless dreamlike performance.
If your last ballet experience was tainted by swans, or tights or a frightful combination of both, rest assured: you are not alone. But dear friends, this is Wayne McGregor—a guy who summoned Coldplay and Massive Attack collaborator Jon Hopkins to create sound for Entity; a guy who’s been commissioned to choreograph on a modest 2,000 dancers for London 2012’s Cultural Olympiad. And while we’re at it, he’s also a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, props bestowed upon him by none other than Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. This is Wayne McGregor. Prepare yourselves.
In Entity, a full-length contemporary ballet-based amalgam of dance, video installation and electronica, McGregor endeavours to mine the relationship between brain and body, the complex micro-dimensions of our existence that continue to elude us. These feelings may be familiar yet distant, although they make us who we are. 10 male and female dancers of a herculean strain attack this work by defying gravity, shape and limits of all kinds. They entangle, collapse, and hurtle at rapid-fire speed, with the resulting movement vocabulary imbuing a sort of morbid classicism; these bodies move in every way you thought they couldn’t—over, and over, and over again.
In many ways, the appearance and the creative output of Entity’s creator are closely linked. Perfectly boyish in his 40s, sporting a slickly shaved head, and looming over everyone in the room, McGregor appears futuristic, otherworldly, and describing any one of his critically celebrated works requires a well of similar adjectives. He’s an inventor, a distorter, a DJ of bodies. Don’t miss the next set. You will regret it.