I love dance, and whenever I see something I feel passionate about I always come away and write my own personal sort of review. Even if I don’t post it anyway, its good to scribble all my enthusiasm and thoughts down on the train home sometimes – in a way, thats why I started this blog, as a place to hold all these ramblings so I can look back on them in the future.
At my current job, I got the opportunity to interview some of the dancers of my favourite dance company, Hofesh Shechter Company, after which I went to see them perform their piece Political Mother: The Choreographer’s Cut. I wasn’t asked to review it, but after such a build up to what was arguably the biggest dance event of the year, I decided to do (a mini) one anyway.
It’s a bit after the fact, but I wanted to put it somewhere so I can read back on it and say I was there! So here it is….
Rock star of contemporary dance, Hofesh Shechter, truly lived up to this reputation last week as his company staged Political Mother: The Choreographers Cut at prestigious south London live music venue, the O2 Academy Brixton. After a three week mini-season, #HOFEST, was nearing its climax and Political Mother, Shechter’s most critically acclaimed work, brought it to an end with a bang.
Upon walking into the Academy the vibe was completely foreign to the usual buzz of the foyer at Sadler’s Wells where I had seen Shechter’s barbarians two weeks prior. A merchandise stand selling branded t-shirts, posters and the show’s soundtrack replaced the conventional sight of ushers selling programmes– it was clear that this was truly a gig rather than a dance show.
Almost knocking you over, the sound of Shechter’s thirty strong band blasted the eardrums, with a row of drummers, below a row of strings below a row of electric guitars seemingly suspended in space above the Academy’s stage.
The dancing seemed almost irrelevant at first, but once you got used to the sheer thrill of the hard rock soundtrack, it all came together, both dancers and score in perfect sync to conjure an atmosphere from the audience unlike any dance show I’ve attended.
This piece of dance, if any, has the ability to bring contemporary choreography into the mainstream consciousness through its combination of powerful imagery, stirring soundtrack and an athletic quality from the dancers that you don’t need to have a trained eye to appreciate. For a contemporary dance company, to be booked in a venue of this scale alone is something of a wonder let alone to bring the house down in the way Shechter’s dancers and musicians did, this was certainly the exact space Shechter had always intended it to be performed on.