By Patricia Boccadoro
PARIS, 21 FEBRUARY 2014 Flooding theatres with incense and
having spectators peer for their seats through a murky gloom seems to be
the latest thing at the moment, but the added novelty at the Theatre de la
Ville in January was the distribution of ear-plugs as one entered the
auditorium. And while having fetid air thrust down ones nostrils and
irritating ones eyes can be disagreeable, the handing out of ear-plugs
brought a smile to most peoples faces, not all, for some looked ready to
run, but the smiles that were there remained throughout the evening.
Israeli-born Hofesh Shechter is one of the most exciting choreographers
working in Britain today, as his latest piece, Sun, demonstrated
yet again. "Were so excited. We want to give you the best experience
possible, so well show you the end first", Shechter announces at the
beginning of the show, and so indeed, we are treated to seeing the end of
his piece not once but twice. And unsurprisingly, it is the image of these
15 magnificent dancers in their elegant costumes of beige, taupe, cream,
ivory, all the shades of white one can imagine, all different and
each immensely attractive, that one carries away at the end of the
There is a moment of calm as the show, properly speaking,
begins, with slow, majestic music of Shechters own
confection, and a group of dancers begin to move, perfectly synchronized.
The décor, complementing the costumes, is simple and refined, with the
stage surrounded by walls of grey and beige, superbly highlighted by some
80 to 100 lights hanging down from above.
Hofesh Shechter: Sun
The ensuing hour and a quarter, with perhaps the second half being just
a shade too long , can only be described as joyful, organized chaos,
the dancers fairly bursting with energy as they reach ever upwards in a
vertical frenzy. The work is packed with an ironic humour interspersed
with underlying currents of pessimism. Its both entertaining yet
Hofesh Shechter has developed a language all of his own. His movements,
extraordinary, strive for the unattainable and the dancers move with a
fast, light, almost elfin quality. The piece is airy, buoyant, and
fast-moving, and the audience left breathless is enjoying every minute,
for nothing this evening, Shechter insists, is to be taken seriously.
The key to the inherent power in the show lies in the score, for Hofesh
Shechter was first and foremost a musician, a drummer who studied
percussion in Tel Aviv and Paris who began early on composing the music
for his choreography. In this particular creation, the accompanying
music, created alongside the movements and hence an integral part of the
whole, is excruciatingly loud and deafening, contributing considerably to
the changes in atmosphere with sudden silences followed by violent
explosions of sound.
One of the highlights, however was a superbly choreographed sequence to
Irving Berlins, "Lets Face The Music And Dance", where the innovative
steps and joy of dancing left an indelible imprint on ones mind, and was
in stark contrast to the disturbing images of the larger than life
cut-outs of the sheep and the wolves. Schechters Sun, for all
its apparent lightness, carries a considerable amount of tension alongside
the moments of hilarity.
There was just an indefinable something which stopped this work from
being one of the finest pieces seen around in Paris for some time.
Patricia Boccadoro is dance editor at