Tragédie, Sadler’s Wells, dance review
Friday 09 May 2014
In Tragédie, French choreographer Olivier Dubois sets out to explore the human condition. It turns out to be very long, very loud and very naked.
Dubois, the newly-appointed director of Ballet du Nord, uses nudity as a philosophical point. Eighteen dancers – nine men, nine women – emerge from darkness at the back of the stage and pace up and down to a thumping beat.
On stage, nakedness tends to be vulnerable rather than sexy. Where film can offer controlled angles and flattering lighting, the stage is a big, exposed, chilly space. Unglamorously stripped, Dubois’ dancers are also blank-faced, lacking individuality.
Tragédie deliberately follows classical models. It aims for catharsis by building from ordered pacing to wild flailing. The dancers walk for perhaps half an hour before allowing variation to creep in – a quirked elbow, a faster turn. They step into anguished poses, as if modelling for a bad painting.
Lasting an endless 90 minutes, Dubois’ picture of alienated humanity is a labour to watch. Towards the end, dancers writhe around, humping the air – but each person is separate, not touching anyone else. Even during sex, we are alone. It’s a lot of effort for a trite point.
Until 10 May. Box office 0844 412 4300.
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
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
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