The Featherstonehaughs Draw on the Sketchbooks of Egon Schiele, The Place, London
Thursday 11 November 2010
Egon Schiele's drawings can be unnerving. The Austrian expressionist's delicate lines give his subjects a spindly, neurotic energy. In The Featherstonehaughs Draw on the Sketchbooks of Egon Schiele, choreographer Lea Anderson manages to turn living dancers into the tense bodies of Schiele's pictures.
For the current tour by the Featherstonehaughs, Anderson's all-male troupe, she has reworked her own 1998 dance. It has new music by Steve Blake and Will Saunders, with chugging beat and insistent guitar. Simon Corder's design marks out a square dancing space, outlined in neon strips.
Sandy Powell dresses them in smudged suits, cloudy as a painter's colour wash. Their faces are painted to give the same effect, their hair teased into wild shapes. They stroll and pose like zombie fashion plates, all fierce eyes and languid attitudes.
Anderson and Powell's take on Schiele's nudes is even better. Painted body tights give the dancers jutting hipbones and shoulder blades, dark nipples and genitalia drawn on. An orange-tinted man unfolds himself into the artist's poses, moving with mesmerising authority.
Some of the imagery is precisely from Schiele. Dancers hold up splayed fingers, a gesture from a portrait becoming a stylised motif. Elsewhere, they shuffle along in their angled positions, funny and creepy.
Sometimes Anderson overplays it. There are a few too many pulled faces. The makeup, so striking for the "nude" sequences, looks exaggerated with the dressed bodies.
Just when the strolling might get repetitive, Anderson's sense of structure comes through. She sets the dancers up in pairs, one standing still as the others square their elbows or take long strides. Then the still pair turn their heads in precise unison. That move pulls the whole picture together, making a characteristically witty Anderson pattern.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 North Korean prison officers 'cooked prisoner's baby and fed it to their dogs', more horrific accounts from UN report reveal
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Mayor says there should be 'no comparison' to Ferguson
- 4 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Secret Cinema showed The Great Dictator at protest secret screening, following Sony's The Interview cancellation
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Cruel Woman in Black prank sees cinema-goers terrified by movie poster - watch their reactions
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Angelina Jolie 'didn't eat much' in sympathy with actors who had to lose weight for Unbroken
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever