Modern dance at light speed

Sydney is in for a treat this April when we launch our landmark 2020 Season with Volt – a celebration of modern dance in three bite-sized works.

Pairing two pieces from acclaimed UK choreographer Wayne McGregor with a world premiere from local star Alice Topp, Volt will set your heart racing to a soundtrack of The White Stripes and classical superstar Ludovico Einaudi.


1. Wayne McGregor

Photo by Jim McFarlane

In 2006, Wayne McGregor’s Chroma rocked Covent Garden on its heels. It was if he’d sped ballet up and stretched it like Silly Putty – then thrown The White Stripes’ garage rock at it. Three years later, he made Dyad 1929 on our dancers. His fast-forward style was given extra oomph by Steve Reich’s driving Double Sextet and the black-on-white pop of the set. A decade on, after working with Radiohead, the Chemical Brothers and Gareth Pugh, McGregor is still at the forefront of dance innovation, and these early works come out of the starting gates just as har



2. Alice Topp

Photo by Kate Longley

Our newest resident choreographer broke on the scene in 2010 with Trace, a work featuring stretchy costumes that were part of the choreography. Her 2018 piece Aurum blew the roof off our Verve season and shone at New York’s Joyce Theater. Her follow-up will be Logos, begun as a project with Company Wayne McGregor and now expanded to a one-act piece for our dancers. Like Aurum, Logos will feature music by Ludovico Einaudi, and explore the landscape of emotional pain and growth.




3. A Musical Rollercoaster

How did we go so far (and so fast) in the space of three scores? For Chroma, Joby Talbot, who wrote the magical music for Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland©, uses eccentric orchestration to twist and embellish The White Stripes. In Double Sextet, Steve Reich, a legend of the minimalist movement, pits two identical ensembles (flute, clarinet, vibraphone, piano, violin and cello) against each other to produce music that collides, colludes and intertwines. Ludovico Einaudi, Alice Topp’s musical muse, creates simple structures from strings, piano and silence that build to a pitch of emotional resonance. You could get a ticket’s worth of pleasure without even opening your eyes.

4. Superhuman Moves

Photo by Jess Bialek

You won’t want to blink for fear of missing a moment of movement that beggars belief. The ballet body is designed by nature and trained over decades to perform wonders. In McGregor’s choreography, our dancers’ powers are turned up to eleven: speed, stretch, height and the sheer command of complexity will leave you open-mouthed. Topp’s movement language turns her dancers into subtle instruments that convey worlds of experience and countless layers of nuance, inspiring a seismic awe.





5. Dazzling Design

Photo by Jim McFarlane


For both McGregor and Topp, design is as important an element as movement or music. McGregor chose the celebrated architect John Pawson to come up with the ingeniously simple shadow box that houses Chroma, and worked closely with Lucy Carter and Moritz Junge on the stunning monochromatics of Dyad 1929. Jon Buswell, who created the rolling, shimmering golden world of Aurum, will collaborate with Topp on Logos.







Sydney Opera House
3 – 22 April

Peter J Snee

Peter is a British born creative, working in the live entertainment industry. He holds an honours degree in Performing Arts and has over 12 years combined work experience in producing, directing and managing artistic programs & events. Peter has traversed the UK, Europe and Australia pursuing his interest in theatre. He is inspired by great stories and passionately driven by pursuing opportunities to tell them.

Peter J Snee

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