Legendary Choreographer Wayne McGregor on His Enduring Love for Abba

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Wayne McGregor
Photography by Andrew Nuding, Styling by Bella KavanaghWayne is wearing a leather trench coat and boots by BOTTEGA VENETA

In the latest issue of AnOther Magazine, British choreographer Wayne McGregor reveals why Abba’s songs are part of his “dance DNA”

This article is taken from the Autumn/Winter 2022 issue of AnOther Magazine:

“I grew up in Stockport in the 1970s, learning ballroom and Latin American dances to Abba. Their songs are part of my dance DNA – the lyrics, the narratives, the emotions, the way they sit within you musically – and while making [this year’s virtual concert residency] Abba Voyage, I realised how much they were part of my bodily memory. It’s the biggest motion-capture live-avatar project to date and is based on real performances. First by the latter-day Abba, which was phenomenal – Frida singing Fernando right there – and then by four body doubles embodying their physical signatures. Every tiny movement was choreographed and repeated for the motion capture. Abba had a really special performance character – each member moved in a very individual way. We took that and amped it up. It makes you realise how unique we all are and how our self-expression is something to cherish, to carry with us as we move towards the metaverse and create hybrid experiences that develop empathy between digital and live presence.”

Whether channelling an automaton’s stimulated movements (Cyborg, 1996) or choreographing emotive interactions between dancers and a robot (No One Is an Island, 2020), the endlessly innovative British choreographer Wayne McGregor has long embraced technology as both an inspiration and a tool for expanding the possibilities of physical performance. Currently the resident choreographer at the Royal Ballet and director of dance for the Venice Biennale, McGregor remains devoted to this fascination: his soon-to-be unveiled project DeepStaria will span both reality and the metaverse, he says, exploring “how we make metahumans in dance, and building empathy through movement”.

Grooming: Eliot McQueen at Future Rep using 111SKIN. Photographic assistant: Pietro Lazarris. Post-production: She Post Production. Printing: Moderne Lab

This story features in the Autumn/Winter 2022 issue of AnOther Magazine, which is on sale internationally now. Buy a copy here.