Choreography &Music: Hofesh Shechter
Reviewer: Joseph Leigh
Hofesh Shechter’s Sun opens with the voice of Hofesh Shechter himself booming from the darkness of an opening blackout. Shechter engages the audience in a conversational manner, explaining that before the show begins he thought it would be a good idea to show part of the end of the production so the audience knows that it all ends well. What follows is approximately 10 seconds of a joyful dance scene, before reverting to a deep blackout and Shechter’s voice. This achieves the desired effect of setting the audience at ease but also draws the audience into the process itself – Shechter is creating something and wants us to be a part of it.
Shechter’s reassurance is well placed as the production that follows is bestial, violent and primal. Sun does not tell you what it wants to say, but rather leaves you to reach a conclusion yourself. The message however is clear, as the transcendence of violence and oppression permeates from the animal world through to early man and into the modern era, but at the same time a voice of opposition remains.
The dance itself is first rate, with the power and dynamism of the choreography only being matched by the skill of the dancers themselves. Each dancer incorporates performance and character effortlessly into the complex routines and, working with the performance’s special guest, Chloe Walshe, elicit genuine gasps of shock and bursts of laughter throughout.
Most impressive of all are the snap changes and exits/entrances, with performers appearing on stage in split second blackouts or behind leaving performers without being witnessed by the audience at all. These are of almost film like quality, and Hofesh Shechter Company use these to create high impact montages of still images and brief, one second dance breaks.
The music is impressive throughout, with segments of ‘Abide With Me’ and ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance’ mixing with Shechter’s original score to create a powerful backing to the dance. Occasionally unnerving, sometimes light hearted, the music is superb throughout and always perfectly balanced with the dance that is taking place.
The set is almost literally a blank canvas, as the backdrop and floor are carefully designed to imitate an aged canvas. The costumes are also simple yet effective with occasional clown tops and wigs being the only alteration in costumes that otherwise remain the same throughout the production. This works in perfect unison with the intricately designed lighting, which includes an array of light bulbs hung in view of the audience that are illuminated in moving patterns that interact with the live action on stage.
While it may not be ground-breaking in terms of its subject matter or format, there is no question that Hofesh Shechter’s Sun is a first rate piece of contemporary dance that will please any fan of the genre. A must see for any dance enthusiast.
Runs until 11th December 2013. |Photo: Gabriele Zucca