Poet, artist, songwriter, a singer whose gravelly voice carved a niche of mixed pleasure and yearning in countless hearts throughout so many decades, Leonard Cohen's insights into life and love, the mixture of passion and dispassion in his work, were unparalleled certainly in the English-speaking world.
Cohen was, in short, one of Montreal's – indeed of Canada's – proudest exports, so it's perhaps not surprising that the company Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal decided to add movement to some of his best-known songs.
Not surprising, but daring nonetheless, because how do you add value to songs that appear to say all that needs to be said on their chosen themes? The answer seems to be to entrust the work to a strong dramaturg, three tried and tested choreographers and 14 remarkable dancers.
The original idea came from the company's then artistic director Louis Robitaille and was approved by Cohen himself, and the work had its world premiere in December 2017 in Montreal. Dramaturgy is by Eric Jean, one of the most esteemed theatre directors of his generation, whose contribution to Quebec theatre cannot be overstated.
Choreography is by Greek-born Andonis Foniadakis, a prolific dance-maker who counts among his many international influences Maurice Bejart, Jiri Kylián and William Forsythe; the multi-award-winning Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, known to British audiences through works such as Broken Wings, her take on the life of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo for English National Ballet and A Streetcar Named Desire for Scottish Ballet; and London-born and trained Ihsan Rustem, who's danced in works by, among others, Matthew Bourne, Wayne McGregor and Hofesh Shechter, and is now resident choreographer with Northwest Dance Project in Portland, Oregon.
The score includes many of Leonard Cohen's best-loved songs, such as Dance Me to the End of Love, So Long Marianne, First We Take Manhattan, Nevermind, Hallelujah (of course!) and many more.
Dance Me has its UK premiere at Sadler's Wells.
|What||Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Dance Me, Sadler's Wells|
|Where||Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
07 Feb 23 – 11 Feb 23, 19:30 Thu & Sat mats at 14:30 Dur.: 80 mins
|Website||Click here to book|