Tragédie, Sadler’s Wells, dance review

 

Zo Anderson
Friday 09 May 2014 16:55
Comments

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.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in