“Hofesh Shechter. It’s a name to remember. […] And in two pieces, Uprising and In your rooms, he shows that physical invention as part of a fiercely contemporary universe: pounding soundscapes, brilliantly moody lightscapes, changes of scene as abrupt as flickering television channels.” (The New York Times)
In this first visit to Montreal, Danse Danse is presenting Hofesh Shechter, London’s newest contemporary dance sensation. Residing in the British capital since 2002, the Israeli-born artist has built himself a reputation that extends far beyond the boundaries of Britain. His works have played in several countries throughout Europe, as well as in Korea, Israel, the United States, and soon in Australia. A former dancer with the Batsheva Dance Company, and also a percussionist and composer, Shechter has created highly original works, intensely physical and dramatic, in perfect symbiosis with the music he composes and often performs live. Hofesh Shechter is making his Montreal debut with Uprising and In your rooms, two arrestingly powerful works that will leave no one indifferent!
“An electrifying work with a powerful cast of seven men. […] The edgy movement and energetic score connects immediately with audiences.” (iberkshires.com)
With its vivid, sharp-edged lighting and high-end decibels, Uprising explodes on stage. The robust and muscular choreography for 7 men (including Shechter) has a tribal energy, in which fraternity serves as a bulwark against despair. Commissioned by the Robin Howard Foundation, Uprising was created at The Place (London) in June 2006.
In your rooms
Following the production of Uprising, Shechter was invited to create a piece in an unprecedented co-production involving the three high temples of contemporary dance in London: The Place, The Southbank Centre and Sadler’s Wells. From this unique commission came In your rooms (2007), a piece for 11 dancers and 5 musicians which was refined from one theatre to the next, culminating in a triumphant run at Sadler’s Wells. The headline in The Observer: “No Room for Improvement.” In your rooms played to packed houses at all three theatres and was nominated for a South Bank Show Dance Award in 2008.
In your rooms intertwines images and scenes to reveal a world with dire problems of communication. Its dreamlike structure, razor-sharp lines and symbiotic music combine to form an enthralling and breathtaking production.
“Churning with the precision of a well-oiled machine, In your rooms delivers a mighty ride of exciting choreography and equally exciting music.” (Times)
“Hofesh Shechter is a true original.” (The Guardian)
Asked by dance journalist and critic Donald Hutera to describe his choreography, Hofesh Shechter replied: “There's something spicy about it. Something dark but smooth, and sarcastic in a very subtle way. And exciting in a very basic way. You're sitting in your seat and occasionally some adrenalin shoots into your veins. I don't know if thought-provoking is exactly the word, but it's kind of… riddling in a way.”
Born in Jerusalem in 1975, Hofesh Shechter graduated from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. He then moved to Tel-Aviv, where he joined the Batsheva Dance Company directed by Ohad Naharin. In the Israel capital he also studied music (percussion), an interest which eventually led him to Paris, where he acquired a deeper understanding of music and its rhythms. It was there that Shechter also began to compose his own music, while participating in various artistic projects involving dance, theatre and body percussion. In 2002 he moved to London and joined Jasmin Vardimon Dance.
In 2004 he made his choreographic debut at The Place with the duet Fragments, for which he also composed the music. The work’s impact was such that Shechter was appointed associate artist at the prestigious theatre. Fragments went on to tour nationally and internationally and won first prize at the 3rd Serge Diaghilev choreography competition in Poland. Shechter then created Cult, a piece for six dancers, at The Place, which also toured worldwide, with stops in Korea, Sicily and Greece. Uprising (2006) was next, commissioned by the Robin Howard Foundation, followed by In your rooms (2007), co-produced by The Place, Southbank Centre and Sadler’s Wells.
In 2008 Hofesh Shechter formed his own company in London, while continuing to collaborate with other artists. In February 2009, Dance United – known for its work with disadvantaged youth – joined forces with Sadler’s Wells in the production of Destino, a work that brought together choreographers Hofesh Shechter, Russell Maliphant and Adam Benjamin, as well as Jemal Sendi and Addisu Demissie, two young Ethiopians whose lives would be transformed by this contact with dance.
As an independent choreographer, Hofesh Shechter has created works for such companies as Bare Bones Dance Company, Candoco, Scottish Dance Theatre, Bern Ballet (Switzerland) and Ballet CeDeCe (Portugal). For the theatre, he has collaborated with director Ramin Gray on Motortown and The Arsonists, performed at the Royal Court Theatre in London, as well on Saint Joan at the National Theatre. For television, Channel 4 invited him to choreograph a sequence for the provocative series Skins.
Choreography: Hofesh Shechter
Music: Hofesh Shechter, Vex’d
Lighting Design: Lee Curran
With 7 dancers
Uprising was made possible with support from the Robin Howard Foundation Commission 2006, Arts Council England and Jerwood Changing Stages Choreolab at DanceXchange.
Photos 1 & 3: Ben Rudick
In your rooms (2007)
Choreography: Hofesh Shechter
Music: Hofesh Shechter
String Arrangements: Nell Catchpole
The soundtrack features a sample from 'Takk...' by Sigur Ros used with kind permission.
Lighting Design: Lee Curran
With 11 dancers and 5 musicians
In your rooms is commissioned by The Place, Southbank Centre and Sadler’s Wells, and supported by Arts Council England. The work is co-commissioned by The Point, Eastleigh, Dance South West, Gloucestershire Dance and Take Art Somerset. Subsidised rehearsal facilities provided by the Jerwood Space and Movingeast
Photo 2: Ben Rudick, photo 4: Andrew Lang
Hofesh Shechter Company is supported by Arts Council England and Jerwood Charitable Foundation.
Duration: 86 minutes – including the intermission
Entracte 20 minutes
In your rooms 40 minutes