DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse

Royal Ballet, 2006; New York City Ballet, 2012; Penn. Ballet, 2015; Australian Ballet, 2016; National Ballet of Japan, 2020

Credits | Reviews  ⇓


Winner 2006 South Bank Show Award: Best New Dance Production

Nomination 2007 Olivier Award: Best New Dance Production




Music by Michael Nyman, 1993

Choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon

Stage and Costume Design by Jean-Marc Puissant

Lighting by Jennifer Tipton




Production Manager: Colin Maxwell

Costume Supervisor: Allan Watkins

Hair and Make Up Supervisor: Melanie Bouvet

Costume Makers: Amanda Barrow, Sasha Keir

Dyeing: Parveen Banga and ROH Dye Shop

Images © I. Kerslake and courtesy of Royal Opera House


Jean Marc Puissants remarkable stage design houses the piece perfectly.”

The Stage

Michael Nyman’s MGV: Musique à Grande Vitesse is a score commissioned to celebrate the completion of France’s high-speed train network: the TGV.


In DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse, the five sections of the score become the exploration of the notion of travel throughout the 20th century – its mechanics and purpose, but also its fantasy and romance.


A metallic structure, resting at the back of the stage, suggests landscapes, machinery, or the fragmented images seen while travelling onboard a high-speed train. Manipulated by Jennifer Tipton’s lighting, it transforms from chromatic backdrops into a surface from which dancers can emerge from or, through transparency, can be seen dancing within.


The Guardian by Judith Mackrell

Against Jean-Marc Puissant’s industrial set, this sense of an endless collective voyage makes the dancers appear both poignantly human and, fleetingly, immortal.


The Telegraph by Sarah Crompton

Performed in front of Jean-Marc Puissant’s metallic shapes, which look at different times like mountains, the fences at Sangatte, and a crashed aircraft, this is a triumphantly ambitious work for four leading couples and a corps de ballet who provide a kind of commentary, becoming at various moments whirring cogs and wheels, waving passengers, semaphoring pilots.


The Times by Debra Craine

Jean-Marc Puissant’s set, with its heap of mangled steel, hints at a plane or train crash. The latter is suggested by Michael Nyman’s propulsive score MGV, commissioned to mark the opening of a new TGV rail service in France. Dancers come crawling out of the wreck to be carried along on a swirl of beautiful shapes that rise and sink like a swell. The choreography’s swimming arms, slow-motion strokes and watery patterns (not to mention the bathing beauty costumes) at times made me think of Esther Williams and her wet Hollywood spectacles.


The New York Times by Gia Kourlas

With Jennifer Tipton’s stark lighting and Jean-Marc Puissant’s sleek costumes and scenery — including a sculptural wall of undulating steel — “DGV” offers a handsome visual statement.



The New York Times by Claudia La Rocco

(…) the bring-down-the-house speed machine that is “DGV.” Deploying mechanical, trainlike imagery throughout, Mr. Wheeldon seems in part to be playing with a particular ambivalence toward progress that has its roots in the industrial era. (The ballet’s premiere was in his native England.) Progress rushes forward, then collapses in on itself, much like Jean-Marc Puissant’s crumpled metallic set. (He also designed the handsome costumes.)


The Independent on Sunday by Jenny Gilbert

The set, by Jean Marc Puissant, is a striking assembly of wave-shaped metal resembling the body of a plane or a train. I don’t think we’re meant to think it had crashed, but as dancers exited gingerly between its buckled sections I had sinking visions of Hertford and Clapham Junction. (…) Costumes are nattily based on guards’ livery (…).


The Stage by Katie Phillips

Jean Marc Puissant’s remarkable stage design houses the piece perfectly.