Political Mother, Sadler's Wells, London
Friday 16 July 2010
This first full-length work by Hofesh Shechter is driven by the beat. Dancers lope and stamp through folk-inflected steps, picked out by spotlights or vanishing into blackness. Shechter adds winding Eastern lines, thunderous drums and electric guitar, but it's the drumbeat that powers this dance.
Shechter is a choreographer who often creates his own music, he mixes loping dance moves and a gig atmosphere. Political Mother shows him pushing into new territory. His dancers are moving away from the crouching, simian moves of earlier works. Political implications are stronger, but still stylised. The mix of music, dance and staging has a wallop, though Shechter can't sustain the energy of the first half.
The piece opens with an image of death: a samurai figure stabbing himself. As the stage goes black, the beat starts up, looping and full of static, a solid, grumbling line of sound. The dancers move about the stage in a pack, driven by the beat. As they run, they raise and shake their hands, add little folk shuffles. Behind them, Lee Curran's lighting reveals four drummers. Their faces are in shadow, but we can see their buttoned, faintly military jackets as they add a thumping layer.
Up above, the spotlight shows a screaming figure on a balcony – a dictator or a rock star, roaring into a microphone. Around him, guitarists grind out heavy-metal riffs.
There's a sense of force, long before someone brings a gun onstage. A man tries to pull a woman into his own style of dancing; she resists, then tries to calm his own frantic twitches. The dancers line up like soldiers on parade, as a figure in a gorilla mask inspects them.
Political Mother sags when the looped beat stops. Without it, there's more time to notice the repetitions of Shechter's style. Even so, this is an ambitious step forward for Shechter.
Ends tomorrow (0844 412 4300); then touring (Hofesh.co.uk)
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Best TV shows on Netflix: 26 series to binge on
Fight Club 2: Chuck Palahniuk sequel is a 'meta-fictional comment on the cultural response to the original'
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?
Star Wars 7: Plot details 'leak', with sequel's opening sequence and premise revealed
Original Rick Astley 'rickrolling' video removed from YouTube
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains