What am I seeing? When’s the last time you rode Caltrain and looked out the window rather than scrolling Instagram? Or left your phone at home and totally unplugged for the day? Christopher Wheeldon’s new ballet, Bound To©, starts with these questions, exploring the loneliness and disconnection that our constant state of digital engagement can cause. After years of choreographing big story ballets—Alice in Wonderland, The Nutcracker—and Broadway musicals—An American in Paris, Brigadoon—this ballet is a foray back into the kind of abstract, short works that launched his career in the early 2000s. Bound To© is a tech-influenced ballet for a tech-obsessed city.
What am I hearing? A collection of works by singer-songwriter Keaton Henson. The ballet’s score will blend Henson’s classical music with one of his final vocal tracks.
What should I look for? Look for the way dancing with cellphones changes the dancers’ movements. Ballet is usually about connection, either between the dancers on stage or the dancers and their audience. But here, they are inwardly oriented, fixated on technology in ways that change the line of their heads and necks. And then note how when the dancers lose their phones their movements become more expansive.