Order now
10 The Wayne McGregor and Jamie xx ballet that’s shaking up the Opéra

The Wayne McGregor and Jamie xx ballet that’s shaking up the Opéra


Until July 13, choreographer Wayne McGregor revives the “Tree of Codes” ballet at the Bastille Opera in Paris. Created with Jamie xx and Olafur Eliasson, the piece promises to be a choreographic, scenographic and musical success.

© Opéra de Paris © Opéra de Paris
© Opéra de Paris

An incredible collaboration


Tree Of Codes is the result of a major collaboration between choreographer Wayne McGregor, musician Jamie xx and the Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. Founder of his own company at the tender age of 22 and resident dancer at the London Royal Ballet since 2006, Wayne McGregor invited Jamie xx to write the score for his ballet. The dandy of the trio The xx, with his very British Elvis quiff, agreed. It was a new challenge for the man who started his career doing remixes, released his first album Solo In Colour in 2015, and then collaborated with Romain Gavras on the music video for Gosh (2016). Jamie xx then worked closely with the visual artist Olafur Eliasson on the scenography of Tree Of Codes. This hotshot of the contemporary art world produces immersive pieces and interrogates art and its relationship with the “reality of the world”. As the architect responsible for the Vuitton Foundation building, in 2016 he was invited by the Chateau de Versailles to decorate their outbuildings and gardens with his installations. McGregor, Elisasson, Jamie xx, three superstars in their own domains who together have made Tree of Codes a particularly exciting project.


A success that led to a revival


Created in 2015 for the Manchester International Festival, the Tree of Codes ballet is inspired by the eponymous novel of American writer Jonathan Safran Foer, published five years earlier. At the time, this unusual text – an artwork that takes shape as a book – struggled to get published, with many of the words that compose it being removed by the author. Visual Editions, a Belgian publishing house, was the only one to print it. This book, described by the Times as a veritable “work of art” inspired Wayne McGregor, who decided to adapt and choreograph it.


Now Tree of Codes is on the program at the Opera Garnier in Paris. The result of a choreographic experiment, the ballet brings together 19 English dancers from the Wayne McGregor Company and six from the Opéra national de Paris. In this piece, the music, the bodies and the stage set all interact. The scenography by Olafur Eliasson is a set of confusing mirrors – not dissimilar to his installation at the Chateau de Versailles. In short, the ballet promises to be a clever blend of multi-coloured images, brilliance, reflections, not to mention an array of dazzling and infinite movements.


Tree Of Codes, until July 13 at the Opéra Bastille.