Sea of Troubles at ROH


Yorke Dance Project recently performed Sea of Troubles as part of Kenneth MacMillan: a National Celebration, a festival bringing together six leading British dance companies on the Royal Opera House stages to celebrate MacMillan’s extraordinary legacy.  The company performed alongside Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Northern Ballet, The Royal Ballet and Scottish Ballet in marking the 25th anniversary of MacMillan’s death.

Kenneth MacMillan made Sea of Troubles in 1988 for Dance Advance, a dance ensemble composed of former members of The Royal Ballet.  He intended it as a gift to the dancers, and crafted an intimate work for just six performers. The score, which was performed live, uses music by the 20th-century masters Webern and Martinů.

MacMillan described how his ballet responded to Shakespeare:
“I have taken as a starting point the effect of the death of Hamlet’s father without a literal telling of the play. With the appearance of his father’s ghost, and Hamlet’s realization of the need for revenge, his tormented world becomes a nightmare.”

In his four-star review of the ROH performances, Graham Watts of Sea of Troubles that “this charming miniature is to be cherished and, hopefully, kept in the repertoire. Bravo to Yorke Dance Project for rekindling this particular flame, and for burning it so brightly.”


Yorke Dance Project has won acclaim as a dynamic, contemporary ballet company committed to presenting new work alongside the choreography of past masters.  The company’s revival of Sea of Troubles was created in collaboration with the original cast and in full consultation with Deborah MacMillan, designer of the ballet and MacMillan’s widow.