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Radiohead Provides Score for Stephen Petronio's New Ballet at Edinburgh Festival

By Kevin Shihoten
and Matthew Westphal
15 Jun 2007

Stephen Petronio
photo by Sarah Silver

The Scottish Ballet will premiere a new ballet set to the music of Radiohead at the Edinburgh International Festival this August.

American choreographer Stephen Petronio selected five Radiohead songs for his new Ride the Beast. The dance will open with "Fitter Happier" from the group's 1997 album OK Computer.

"Radiohead has been at the top of my list for a very long time," he said for an article on Scottish Ballet's website. "[Their] music is a brilliant investigation of achingly modern taste. They sail through genre and form effortlessly and passionately, and their music demands a physical response from me that bypasses reason."

The four remaining songs are "Hunting Bears" from Amnesiac (2001), the acoustic version of "Creep" from the 1994 EP My Iron Lung E, and Kid A's (2000) "Idioteque" and "The National Anthem."

"Expect the unexpected," reads the description of the piece on Scottish Ballet's website, which adds that Petronio chose the songs to "complement the layered complexity and primal nature of his new work."

Petronio, who was the first male dancer in the Trisha Brown Company (1979-86), has gained considerable renown at the head of his own company, which he founded in 1984. He has been commissioned by, among others, Sydney Dance Company, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Lyon Opera Ballet and William Forsytheís Frankfurt Ballet; in 2008 he will create new works for Sweden's Norrdans company and the Washington Ballet. In addition, works he created for his own troupe have since been performed by companies (including Scottish Ballet) in the U.S., Great Britain, Sweden, Belgium and Australia. In the past he has used music by, among others, Rufus Wainwright, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Michale Nyman and Diamanda Galas.




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