Artist Martin Creed presents dance piece Ballet Work No.1020

This article is from 2010

Artist Martin Creed presents dance piece Ballet Work No.1020

Turner Prize-winning visual artist gets to the pointe at Fringe

Through with the usual art materials – paper, paint, bronze (and in this instance vomit, excrement and light bulbs) – Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed has turned his hand to the human body. Lauded for his Work No. 850 (2008), in which athletes sprinted through Tate Britain, Creed’s live practice has since branched out into the world of ballet, choreographing Ballet Work No. 1020 with five classically trained dancers.

Using a tight framework of steps and musical scales, Creed examines the altering effects of time, speed and direction. ‘The ballet is based on the Five Positions,’ explains dancer Eleanor Forrest, ‘and the choreography is built upon forward, backwards and sideways movements, similar to those made by the Knight on the chessboard.’

Splitting the stage, with dancers occupying one half and Creed’s band the other, the work will alter with each performance. Although provided with sketchy outlines and an alphabetical key to numbered pieces, the dancers are otherwise tied to the music and Creed’s hypothetical baton.

‘There is no set story,’ says Forrest. ‘It’s more about the movements and horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines – and those who are so inclined can search for the mathematics. But everyone who sees it wants to talk about it, it’s a never-ending conversation piece.’

Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, 8–15 Aug (not 9), times vary, £17–£19 (£6–£13). Preview 3 Aug, 7pm, £12 (36).

Martin Creed: Ballet Work No. 1020

  • 3 stars

Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed's funny and thoughtful piece for five dancers, with film and a live band featuring the artist himself. A sell-out hit in London, the work now comes to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for eight performances only. Based around the five positions in ballet and the notes of the musical…