A top athlete with degrees in mathematical economics and cinema, Rigal trained as a dancer and then branched off into choreography and experimental multi-source theatre. He set up his own Company Dernière Minute 15 years ago.
Rigal has worked extensively outside of his French homeland, and his ongoing association with the Korean National Dance Company in Seoul seems particularly relevant to Scandale.
Billed as a ‘shamanic piece’ investigating the birth of choreography, Scandale relies for the most part on the language of hip hop, but goes well beyond it. On a dark stage, six dancers – four men and two women – are slowly and seemingly reluctantly summoned out from behind vertical panels by a masked figure clad in a voluminous robe evocative of traditional Oriental theatre.
He – the MC, or perhaps shaman – also performs the show’s live music by means of a synthesiser and a set of drums which the dancers themselves bring on and assemble on the right of the stage.
What follows is an unsettling dialogue between this figure (musician Gwenaël Drapeau) and the dancers. He urges them to make noises into a microphone, which they do with increasing confidence. Some essay a few hip hop moves, but break off just as you’re beginning to relax into it. This is not the kind of show where you simply relax and enjoy...
The whole show is, in fact, a sequence of stop starts, which is a little frustrating as these are capable, vibrant dancers and it would be good to see them perform for a sustained period.
There is always something vaguely sinister hovering over Scandale. Frédéric Stoll’s moody and highly atmospheric lighting, combined with the hoarse noises and mirthless laughter coaxed out of the dancers by the masked figure, creates a climate of tension and suspense.
To coin a phrase, ‘it’s breakin', Jim, but not as we know it’.
In the end, the original question ‘is music or movement the mother of dance?’ remains unanswered. Regardless, for a whole hour Scandale holds your attention absolutely; and though a little self-indulgent in its more absurdist elements, it certainly provides an original and intriguing spectacle.
|What||Review: Pierre Rigal, Scandale|
|Where||Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
05 Sep 18 – 06 Sep 18, 20:00 Dur.: TBC DJs playing from 19:00 onwards
|Website||Click here to book via Sadler's Wells website|