Barbarians review – Hofesh Shechter's midlife crisis

Sadler’s Wells, London
The rough-cut, taste-flouting work of the Israeli choreographer has a new target

Hofesh Shechter divides dance audiences. There are the faithful, committed to the choreographer’s weirdly intense inner journey, with its droll humour and excoriating self-interrogation, and there are those who number him among a cabal of over-entitled, over-indulged male celebrity dance-makers. Barbarians, a trilogy of loosely related works first performed last year, plays to both points of view.

Having exhausted, for now at least, his anger against the state of Israel, from which he arrived in Britain 14 years ago, Shechter presents us with a full-blown midlife crisis. “I cheated on my wife,” his recorded voice tells us in the barbarians in love, the evening’s opening work. “I fucked someone else. She was so pretty, and I’m only human.” This mawkish confession, which may or may not be true, occurs amid a welter of effects. On-off searchlights, deafening electronica intercut with snatches of 18th-century baroque music, and chopped-up sections of folksy choreography executed by six dancers. The rough-cut feel and the confessional tone are calculated disruptions, intended to take us to a place of discomfort and embarrassment, which Shechter equates with “being alive”. The piece ends with the dancers standing naked in front of us, a slow fade to blackout clothing them in darkness.

It’s grotesque and sad and suddenly the evening seems charged with possibility

Continue reading…
Source: Guardian Dance News

Share this post
Instep Dancewear