Melbourne Festival’s Tree of Codes is going to blow your mind

  • Jun 15, 2017

Melbourne Festival has just announced a six-show only dance event called Tree of Codes, simultaneously bringing the works of Jamie xx (one third of The xx) and members of the Paris Opera Ballet to our shore.

And blowing our flippin’ minds in the process!

  • Tree of Codes
  • October 17-21
  • Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre
  • Tickets on sale Jun 17, 5pm

The announcement made on Thursday revealed the collaboration between Jamie, choreographer Wayne McGregor, visual artist Olafur Eliasson, and the Paris Opera Ballet.

The performance is set to take over the State Theatre during this year’s Festival.

What is it?

Tree of Codes is a collision of contemporary ballet, visual art and electronic music.

The performances is inspired by novelist Jonathan Safran Foer’s book-sculpture of the same name.

Tree of Codes is brought to life by Jamie xx’s score, Olafur Eliasson’s visual designs and Wayne McGregor’s choreography, as performed by 14 dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet and Company Wayne McGregor.

Jamie xx. Photo: Jamie XX/Facebook.

Jamie xx. Photo: Jamie XX/Facebook.

Why should you go?

Melbourne Festival Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway said the three artists behind Tree of Codes were at the top of his list.

“Bringing it to Melbourne in its original form, with soloists from the Paris Opera Ballet, is three dreams come true,” Jonathan says.

“Whilst the core collaborators on this project—Wayne McGregor, Olafur Eliasson and Jamie xx—are each at the very top of their game, working together has lifted them all to new heights.

Described as a “groundbreaking and audacious theatrical presentation”, Tree of Codes has received standing ovations around the world.

It has enjoyed sold-out crowds since its premiere at the Manchester International Festival in 2015.

Photo: Joel Chester Fildes

Photo: Joel Chester Fildes

The story behind the dance

To create his book, Foer took to the text of a book by Polish author Bruno Schulz—The Street of Crocodiles—with a blade, creating a new narrative.

In Tree of Codes, these collaborators have responded to Foer’s creation to craft a fluid, immersive and visual feast of light, colour and motion.

Jamie xx used an algorithm to turn spaces and shapes from the book into melodies.

McGregor created a dance for each of its 134 pages.

It was the “physical nature” and “vibrancy” of the book that inspired Eliasson’s set and lighting designs.

About the artists

Wayne McGregor is a multi-award winning British choreographer and director. He is internationally renowned for trailblazing innovations in performance.

He is regularly commissioned to work for the most important ballet companies in the world, including staging Infra at the Australian Ballet in 2017.

Artist Olafur Eliasson works in a wide range of media, including installation, painting, sculpture, photography, and film.

He is renowned for The weather project (2003) at Londaon’s Tate Modern. This project immersed spectators in an artificial mirrored environment with its own sun. It attracted 2 million visitors!

Jamie xx is one third of Mercury Prize-winning UK band, The xx. An acclaimed remixer, Jamie is a producer by appointment to pop royalty like Drake and Alicia Keys. He is at the forefront of a wave of producers paving the way for dance music in the 21st century.

The Paris Opera Ballet is the oldest national ballet company, and is regarded as one of the three most preeminent ballet companies in the world.