The Royal Opera House announces the London premiere of Yorke Dance Project’s California Connections: Three Pioneering Women. California Connections celebrates female pioneers of contemporary dance, with close links to California, Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, and Bella Lewitzky. The programme also includes a world premiere by Yolande Yorke-Edgell which was fittingly created in California.

Kenneth MacMillan’s two-act ballet, Isodora was created for The Royal Ballet in 1981 and captured the life of San Francisco native and pioneer of contemporary dance Isodora Duncan. For this new revival, Yolande Yorke-Edgell and Lady Deborah MacMillan have distilled the original ballet into an intensely theatrical one-act chamber work which explores the conflict between Isadora’s search for love and her mission to revolutionise the art of dance. The original score is by Richard Rodney Bennett. This new staging is part of The Royal Ballet’s MacMillan Celebrated, a series of performances and events celebrating the breadth of MacMillan’s one-act ballets.

Martha Graham spent her formative years in Santa Barbara, California where she was first introduced to dance. Her 1947 masterpiece Errand into the Maze is a duet based on the legends of Ariadne, Theseus and the Minotaur. Influenced by the theories of the psychologist Carl Jung and set to a score by Gian Carlo Menotti, it confronts human fear and explores sexual power struggles. Yorke Dance Project’s revival is the first time the work has been seen in the UK in 20 years. The company’s performances are part of a three-year centennial celebration of Martha Graham Dance Company which turns 100 in 2026.

Yorke-Edgell danced with Bella Lewitzky from 1994 to 1998 when Lewitzky retired and disbanded her company. Here her company presents Lewitzky’s boldly sculptural and physically demanding Meta 4 where four dancers perform four movements to an original score for string quartet by Robert Xavier Rodriguez.

These three pieces will be complemented by a new short work from Yorke-Edgell. A Point of Balance, a new short work for three women, is set to music by Laurie Anderson, Bach and Heiner Goebbels. This new work receives its London premiere in the Linbury Theatre.

The Yorke Dance Project dancers are Luke Ahmet, Abigail Attard Montalto, Ellie Ferguson, Jenny Hayes, Dane Hurst, Edd Mitton, Pierre Tappon, Amy Thake and Harry Wilson. Guest artist Eileih Muir from Company Wayne McGregor joins for A Point of Balance.

Yorke Dance Project
Linbury Theatre
21 – 22 March 2024

Tickets: £5 - £30
For more information, and to book, visit: California Connections: Three Pioneering Women (

The Royal Ballet
MacMillan Celebrated
Main Stage
20 March – 13 April 2024

The Royal Ballet celebrates the breadth of Principal Choreographer Kenneth MacMillan’s one-act ballets.