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Wayne McGregor: "I'm interested in how to compose with AI algorithms"

By David Stock

Driven by an insatiable curiosity about movement and its creative potential, choreographer Wayne McGregor explores the creativity of dance through collaborations with science and technology. “I understand through the work that we’re doing how we might be able to use science to do something really interesting creatively,” he says.

For example, in the latest iteration of Autobiography, a personal choreography that weaves memoirs with data from McGregor’s own DNA, an artificial intelligence tool is trained on hundreds of hours of his choreographic archive and asked to develop new movements for the Company Wayne McGregor dancers to perform.

AI is also explored in A Body for Harnasie, a reimagining of the ballet score Harnasie by Karol Szymanowski, based on a Polish folk story. In it, recorded footage of McGregor’s dancers is blended with algorithmic manipulation to “bring an abstract nuance” to the film, says Cullen Williams, the artist collaborating on the project. This footage is then projected onto a kinetic sculpture, which rotates and changes shape amid the orchestra performing Szymanowski’s ballet score, under conductor Edward Gardner.

And in UniVerse, a narrative-led piece most recently performed at London’s Sadler’s Wells, McGregor uses dance to communicate a nuanced experience of the dangers of climate change and the potential to find solutions through science, technology and human ingenuity.

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