Creating a new model for accessible ballet.

Robert Binet

Robert Binet is the director and choreographer of Wild Space, which he founded out of a desire to create new ways to share ballet. Robert will foster a collaborative dynamic within his team of artists and work with them in alternative physical settings that stimulate creativity and innovation. Through Wild Space, they aim to create varied and accessible experiences with ballet; performances in a wide range of locations, featuring some of the best dancers in the world. Wild Space's inaugural production is Terra Incognita. Following their two previous collaborations, Robert commissioned playwright Rosamund Small to write an original story for Terra Incognita. Next, he brought together five incredible dancers from leading international ballet companies. Some of the dancers are people he has created a large body of work with, and with others it is a first collaboration. The new ballet is being created at Abbey Hall, in Eye, Suffolk. It is on the English Heritage site of an 11th century Benedictine Priory and has been converted to a dynamic performance and exhibition space.

"I wanted an original story partly because Abbey Hall is such an unconventional space, and with five brilliant performers I wanted really special roles that were tailored to each of them, and a very contemporary story. That’s a long wish list. And I just wanted to challenge the notion that ballets needs to be a story that audiences already know."

The story of Terra Incognita was born out of a series of restrictions Robert gave to Rosamund: I. The ballet must use the indoor and outdoor spaces at Abbey Hall. II. There must be five equally important characters. III. The story must not centre around a heterosexual love story. The last restriction being very important as creating a new stroy for ballet creates an opportunitiy to tell different kinds of stories, and mroe inclusive stories. Rosamund responded to this by creating a thrilling narrative about the discovery of a new planet, just like earth but perfectly untouched, and the stories of 5 people and their decisions about whether to stay or go. Each character was created by Robert and Rosamund specifically for the 5 Wild Space dancers. The creation of Terra Incognita began on July 10th.

"Honestly creating a ballet that tells a love story between two women felt like a responsibility to me because it’s not something I’ve ever seen before."

Rosamund Small

Rosamund Small is a Canadian playwright. She loves working in many theatre forms, including documentary and verbatim, site-specific and immersive theatre, and more traditional fiction. She is thrilled to work in ballet, a rare opportunity for a writer. She was commissioned by Wild Space to create an original story and spoken text for Terra Incognita. This is her fourth project with Robert Binet, and their first shared collaboration with spoken text. Previously, Rosamund acted as a dance dramaturge for Myth Studies (National Ballet Choreographic Workshop 2014), Orpheus Becomes Eurydice (National Ballet of Canada/Banff Centre for the Arts), and UnEarth (National Ballet of Canada). Rosamund's most recent text play is Vitals (Outside the March), which premiered in Toronto in 2014 (Dora Awards: Outstanding Production & Outstanding New Play). Her new play TomorrowLove™ premieres in Toronto this Fall 2016 (Outside the March).

"It appeared in the sky. We looked up and there it was. From another universe, to ours. Like a mirror to our planet. A new Earth. A new Europe. A new America. New oceans. New rivers. New Isreal. New Africa. New Canada. New…everything. It had trees, and plants, and water, and air. It had everything, except us. So we thought, we must be missing."