London troupe opens Singapores da:ns festival with a bang
Best described as rock concert meets contemporary dance, “Political Mother” was a terrifically loud opener last Friday for this year’s da:ns festival, but it wasn’t loud enough to drive me from Singapore’s Esplanade Theatre like the last rock show I saw.
The main mitigating factor was the Hofesh Shechter Company’s invigorating dance movements, marked by the Israel -born, London-based choreographer’s use of the dancers’ full bodies and emotions.
Shechter, a trained drummer, also composed the music, and it was difficult to say whether the music led the dance or the other way around. Both were powerful and exuberant and they formed a perfect couple.
His cinematic style – abrupt and frequent shifts back and forth from dancers to drummers and guitarists, with brisk lighting by Lee Curran – kept the 70-minute performance exciting and unpredictable.
The show was about how politics affects everyone. The dancers’ arms swayed above their heads, in joy or perhaps in defiance, as political leaders shouted unintelligibly into a microphone on a platform. I was reminded of the “populist” victory in our most recent election.
Shechter said he continuously developed the music and the choreography simultaneously while creating “Political Mother”.
“It’s not just about the dance or the music, but the total atmosphere and experience,” he told me. “If the process frustrated anyone, it was me, because it’s like a complex jigsaw puzzle and you have to work very hard to keep everything together.”
Shechter credited his experience with the Tel Aviv-based Batsheva Dance Company, and especially world-renowned choreographer Ohad Naharin.
“He inspired me most with the sense of freedom – you come and you do what you feel is right for your body and you find out through simply improvising and connecting to what it is now.”
Shechter said he and his company would love to perform in Bangkok as well. I remembered the British Council sponsoring an unforgettable concert by the Cinematic Orchestra at the International Festival of Dance and Music.
If the British Council or British Embassy want to show us a work by the hottest name in UK dance – a contemporary phenomenon where rock and dance audiences combine – this is it.
Otherwise, you can see the Hofesh Shechter Company in Taipei next March. That’s their next closest date to Bangkok.
ON WE DA:NS
- The da:ns festival continues until Sunday at the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay in Singapore. A highlight this
weekend is the Asian premiere of “6,000 Miles Away with Sylvie Guillem”.
- The Pichet Klunchun Dance Company, the festival’s artists-in-residence, will perform episodes of “Ramakien”
tomorrow through Sunday.