News: The heart of the matter

Wednesday 14 September 2005

Cutting edge, new technology inspired choreographer Wayne McGregor to work with liturgical composer John Tavener would not seem a likely proposition, but their collaborative work – Amu opens at Sadler’s Wells this week.

A common interest in the workings of the heart bought them together. Tavener is affected by Marfan syndrome, a complicated heart condition and McGregor’s interest was an extension of recent collaborations with medical scientists.

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‘… then the finished score arrived from Tavener and McGregor began to wonder what he had got himself into. “It was epic and overwhelming,” he says. “Suddenly I had a 50-piece orchestra and seven singers to deal with, and a story about love and transcendence. I was thinking, my God, what am I going to do with it all?” ‘ Judith Mackrell, Guardian, 8 Sep

McGregor has recently set up a retreat centre for dancers in Lamu, Kenya.

‘It will be interesting to discern the impact of its creation in Lamu. “The experience of being in London generates a particular type of work,” he says. “I love its difficulties and dynamism. But I also recognise the value of being immersed in a totally different place. What is the vision for Akili? Is it practical? Is it inspiring? Let’s get the dancers here and see how it works.” ‘ Donald Hutera, Times, 13 Sep

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