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Carbon Life

Wayne McGregor joins forces with stars of fashion and pop Gareth Pugh, Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, in a vibrant ballet that buzzes with electricity.

Most recent performance

There are currently no scheduled performances of Carbon Life. It was last on stage 10–19 November 2016 as part of the Autumn 2016/17 season.


Nine pop songs, performed live on stage, tell a story of love and its many different natures, mirrored in McGregor’s exhilarating choreography.


Wayne McGregor’s Carbon Life channels all the energy, inventiveness and verve of contemporary pop and fashion. Music producers Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt (from Miike Snow) created the score, and for the 2012 premiere assembled a supergroup of live musicians including Boy George, Wale and Alison Mosshart. Leading fashion designer Gareth Pugh reinvents traditional ballet dress in his costume designs to create bold, structural counterpoints to the hyper-extended movement of McGregor’s choreography.

The score of nine pop songs explores love in its many forms, and provides the ballet with a driving, visceral energy. The opening of Carbon Life sees 18 dancers take to the stage wearing simple, flesh-coloured costumes and lit by a soft glow. As the work progresses, they move through solos, duets and ensemble pieces, gradually acquiring additional layers of clothing that alter and reframe McGregor’s hyperactive, highly expressive movement. In the words of The Guardian: ‘it rocks.’

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