#Hofest: Hofesh Shechter in London
Come autumn, London will be infused with the idiosyncratic stylings of the Israeli dance maker, a month long cultural invasion branded as #Hofest. In a multi-form mix that includes Shechter’s directorial debut on an opera and a rock-gig version of Political Mother at Brixton Academy, this evening of mainly new works will be much anticipated.
The Barbarians trilogy promises to explore the passion, intimacy and banality of love - a wide scope Shechter is more than capable of pursuing. He told the Guardian its target audience is men in their 40s going through a midlife crisis. That theme will be a more than subtle presence if first work the Barbarians in Love, which premiered at Sadler’s Wells earlier this year, is anything to go by.
Hofesh Shechter: Barbarians in Love
While the music, baroque settings by Francois Couperin spliced with electronic sound, is unlike the choreographer’s normal choice of pounding rhythms, the movement remains Shechteresque. The troupe of mainly French and British Hofesh Shechter Company dancers, who all embody his style perfectly, stomp and shuffle, striking huge, proud arcs with their arms then twitching back into low, angry shapes. Lee Curran, who lit the radical Political Mother, cloaks them in a murky haze, before casting them suddenly into blinding white light.
Woven into the whole is an interview between the chill, Siri-like voice of Natascha McElhone and Shechter himself, who rambles about innocence and the search for love before, in a peak of creative self-indulgence, confessing to adultery.
Parts two and three of the Barbarians trilogy
The remaining two parts of the trilogy premiered on the 3 July in Berlin. Group piece tHE bAD promises to be a dark and grungy affair. Testing the limits of his dancers and the conditions of his own creativity, Shechter and team produced this piece almost entirely nocturnally - sleeping through the day and working through the dark hours.
The piece will have a more urban feel, fuelled by its dubstep-flayed soundtrack. Shechter, who studied percussion alongside dance and played drums in rock band The Human Beings, rarely does without a thumping bass line.
Finally the choreographer offers a ‘quirky duet’. Unusual for a creator who professes his love of the dance studio’s social qualities and who floods the stage with a sense of crowd and conflict, such small numbers may concentrate his intensity. Given that the duet will include Bruno Guillore, assistant artistic director and a dancer of considerable charisma, it will certainly be worth watching.
Rehearsing with the young corps of the Royal Ballet for 2015’s Untouchable, Shechter coaxed them on with the phrase ‘It’s always war.’ An apt comment for that battle-driven piece, and a useful key to his work, which often explores the Jewish condition under conflict, and the simultaneous experience of revolt and submission.
There are many reasons Hofesh Shechter is a star of contemporary choreography. To see them in evidence, book Barbarians.
|What||Barbarians, Hofesh Shechter: Sadler’s Wells|
|Where||Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
18 Sep 15 – 25 Sep 15, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the Sadler's Wells website|