Friday, July 07, 2006


Hofesh Shechter
deGENERATION: ‘Cult’, ‘Fragments’, ‘Uprising’
June 2006
London, The Place
It was a wonderful evening of interesting choreography showcase. It showed off Shechter's distinctive style and movement vocabulary.
"Cult" kicked off with an intimidating atmosphere. Total darkness, with loud pumping beats. It carried on for a couple of minutes, which was enough to increase the pulse rates in the audience, and create an impact psychologically. The dancing was strong and definite, all dancers displayed strong stamina and confidence. Shecter's use of space, and choreographic devices created a considerably harmonious effect.
The second piece, a duo, performed by Chris Evans and Claire-Laure Berthier, extended Shechter's movement vocabulary to a new level. Both dancers performed in solos and unison, and very much involved in their character. "Fragments" demonstrates good use of space and creative use of the music. The lightings set for this piece were soft and endearing, enhancing the partnership of the dancers. Personally, I felt this piece strongly brings out the best in the choreographer and his dancers.
"Uprising" commenced with seven men storming towards the audience with a menancing intent to finish right at the tip of downstage in a balance in a retire position. They dispersed into either side of the stage, as the lights began to change. The stage was black and bare, illustrating a fairground for battle royal. One of the motif Shecter used, was an ape-like travelling movement where the dancers were on all fours, darting across the stage. In addition, Shecter used some familiar movements of common male behaviour on the football field. The dancers were running frantically with the body at an angle, almost 60 degrees to the floor, with legs kicking behind, and arms in a 'T' position. (A movement commonly seen on the soccer field when a player scored a goal) Halfway through the piece, all seven men came together in a circle in the middle of the stage. One by one, gave the dancer standing next to him a hard pat on the shoulders, which slowly lead to a very realistic wrestle, without the sound effect. (It reminded me of a scene from David Fincher's Fight Club (1999), starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.) For me, this simple and naturalistic choreographed mayhem, was the climax of this piece. "Uprising" began at a steady pace, which build up to this point, and it ended almost the same as the beginning, which was quite steady and expected. Shechter incorporated the same choreographic formula he had in the previous two pieces into "Uprising", sharing unison, duos and trios, change in level, change in speed of movement and directions.
I agreed with Graham's views about the sound system. The music for "Uprising" was blatant and excruciating to the eardrums. There is no need for loud music to create an impact, it will only cause discomfort to the audience, unless that is the objective of the choreography.


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