In May 2025 Keaton Henson’s Us (duet) features at the Royal Ballet as part of a four-part showcase of the work of Royal Ballet Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon – Ballet to Broadway: Wheeldon Works.

Us formed part of a double-bill Them/Us and was commissioned by BalletBoyz and debuted at Sadler's Wells in 2017, originally conceived as a duet and then later expanded to incorporate the entire BalletBoyz dance corps. The ballet, for six dancers, opens with the suggestion of a cruel and unfeeling regime of regimented movements, from which its principal soloist is excluded; it then resolves into a passionate duet, with two bodies coming together to combat the lonely atmosphere – the duet featured next year at Covent Garden. Acclaim for the production resulted in an immediate two-week transfer to the West End, where it played at the Vaudeville Theatre. It was revived in 2019.

Henson’s ballet roots are firmly established – his mother was a principal ballerina in The Royal Ballet – and he has worked with choreographers a numbers of times previously.

One of the most significant these collaborations was in early 2015, when he composed the score for Young Mena feature-length dance film from BalletBoyz, which went on to win the 2017 Rose d’Or and Golden Prague awards -watch Henson discuss the score here. Shot on location in France, the film stars the BalletBoyz dancers as soldiers experiencing the brutality of the First World War in a captivating hybrid of drama and dance, combined with Keaton’s strikingly haunting music and the eloquent choreography of Iván Pérez. 

Combined with Keaton Henson’s lushly romantic score, it’s an achingly beautiful ode to love.'
Time Out (Siobhan Murphy), 5 June 2019

Us, on the other hand, is brilliant. As the only choreographer, Christopher Wheeldon produces a coherent, elegant and electric piece about a relationship…a stunning and mesmerising display, perfectly complimenting Keaton Henson’s beautiful score. In fact, the music and dancing work so well together that it’s difficult to separate them. From rhythmic, beating group choreography to spark-igniting partner choreography, every moment adds to the perfect overall flow of the performance.

The UpComing (Jim Compton-Hall), 4 June 2019

Moreover, the musical score, here using the same string configuration but without the nods to the rock industry, comes from a composer with a much more heart-felt and intense voice, Keaton Henson: his pulsing, throbbing sounds – arranged with superb technical finesse by Ben Foskett – put one very much in mind of Lou Harrison, and reflect a kind of impassioned tonalism that is more than just attractive.  This is a piece that any company would be glad to have in its rep. (Julian Eaves), 5 June 2019