Goldberg Variations

ternary patterns for insomnia

A photo of dancers and musicians in casual clothing on a stage with a white floor and a white background. Various musicians are holding different instruments including a cello and violins. A ladder is also being taken across the stage. A trolley with a stage light is being wheeled away.

Revel in the joy, complexity, and lyricism of an invigorating collaboration between Stockholm-based Andersson Dance and classical musicians Scottish Ensemble as they reawaken a timeless masterpiece.

There’s a sublime synergy to this infectious encounter between the eleven members of an internationally renowned string orchestra and five contemporary dance artists. Taking Bach’s abstractly beautiful Goldberg Variations, they collectively bring out its moments of tender, expressive, vulnerable and life-affirming humanity.

Expect a contrast of slow and fast, uplifting and reflective, extroverted and introverted movement that mirrors the light and mournful moods of the unfolding variations. But it’s not just the dancers who lose themselves in Örjan Andersson’s astute choreography – the musicians do so as well, temporarily setting their instruments aside in this playful yet profound interpretation. Genuine alchemy is to be found as the two companies perform seamlessly as one to unlock the soul of the music. 

1 hour, 15 mins/no interval

Age guidance 14+ (contains nudity)


5 Jul
Post-show talk

Free to same-day ticket holders

Presented by the Barbican

Part of the 2017–18 Classical Music Season

Produced by Andersson Dance, Scottish Ensemble and Nordberg Movement

Coproduced with Regionteatern Blekinge Kronoberg and Riksteatern

Made possible with support by City of Stockholm, Creative Scotland and Swedish Arts Council

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‘A revelation on several levels… Please, everyone, play it again. Soon.‘
‘The string arrangement, based on Dmitry Sitkovetsky’s trio version of 1985, has a sonority and texture to which the choreography provides astute, visual commentary.‘
‘An undeniably engaging performance with many moments of genuine alchemy.‘
‘Pushed way past conventional boundaries… after this cross-arts collaboration, in a welcome dynamic and exciting approach, we are promised further innovations in the future.‘
‘The result is a musical feast… Magnificent music, the variety in the choreography and gentle humour, decidedly interesting dancers.‘
Peter Bohlin ,


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photo of people dancing and performing music

Watch: Goldberg Variations - ternary patterns for insomnia

11 musicians and 5 dancers are choreographed together as one in this new interpretation of J.S.Bach's masterpiece, Goldberg Variations...

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