Hofesh Shechter’s apprentice company dances up a whirlwind of comedy and menace. Celebrated choreographer Hofesh Shechter presents Shechter II, his apprentice company for dancers ages 18-25. Just eight extraordinary young international talents, chosen from over 1,000 who auditioned, prove they are already…
I rounded off October by spending two consecutive evenings being excited and challenged by the work of two talented young Israeli performing artists, both with so much to offer. Niv Petel is heartbreaking in Knock Knock, his beautifully nuanced account of a devastating situation faced by too many Israeli families, and Hagit Yakira attracted full houses for her exciting new work Free Falling.
Petel is an extraordinary physical actor, wonderfully convincing as a devoted mother whose son is the centre of her life. An engaging and important contribution to our understanding of life in Israel. And at Sadler’s Wells last week, dancer/choreographer Yakira presented four talented performers falling and recovering again as they take what life throws at them. Supporting each other, their eyes and faces as important as the rest of their bodies as they look out for each other. In a beguiling add on, three more dance artists responded to Free Falling – including full audience participation on the studio floor, everyone linked in a joyful dance – a sort of Hora at Sadler’s Wells, which makes Israeli dance so welcome. Niv Petel and Hagit Yakira are certainly names to watch.
by Judi Herman
Hagit Yakira attracted full houses for her exciting new work, four talented performers falling, recovering and supporting each other, as they take what life throws at them. Their eyes and faces are as important as the rest of their bodies as they look out for each other. Yakira says she invites her audience “to experience the unravelling of real life experiences”. What I loved, though, was the synthesis – the building up of the elements that make up this seemingly simple but actually complex work performed on a vast bare stage.
One eloquent male dancer repeatedly falls and rights himself, while uttering the words "fall" and "recover". He’s joined by a second male dancer, full of solicitude for his partner, whom he repeatedly lifts and allows to slip away. A female dancer joins them and composer and multi-instrumentalist Sabio Janiak adds his serenely plangent music to the mix. A second female dancer makes a quartet and all four display the same solicitude for whichever of them is falling – clearly making recovery possible, not just by supporting them physically, but with the empathy in their expressions. I thought of the motto of the Three Musketeers (with D’Artagnan also four of course): “All for one and one for all”. The space is vast but they crisscross through it all. Janiak adds percussion too – and sometimes takes away his music leaving just the dancers in their loose, pastel clothes. It's moving, telling, soothing, startling and always engaging. The dancers are Sophie Arstall, Fernando Belsara, Stephen Moynihan and Verena Schneider.
In a beguiling addition, three dance artists respond to Free Falling – a different trio each night. The night I went there was a considered response from Dr Emma Dowling on video and an immediate response from Rosemary Lee, a choreographer and creator of extraordinary large-cast community pieces for dancers of all ages. It was fascinating to compare Dr Dowling’s conscientious onscreen response with Rosemary’s joyful movement through the space, retracing the footsteps of the dancers and throwing down pages from her notebook in response to what she had seen and experienced in each spot.
Between these two came the response from dancer Rachel Krische, drawing on the movement quality choreographed by Yakira for the quartet, but relating to members of the audience – using them as her dance partners, first touching, then asking for more – for support and the intertwining of limbs. And finally, gloriously climaxing in full audience participation on the studio floor – everyone linked in a joyful dance – a sort of Hora at Sadler’s Wells, which makes Israeli dance so welcome. Hagit Yakira is a name to watch – and JR will be watching out for more Israeli dance at Sadler’s Wells.
By Judi Herman
Photos by Loy Olsen and Kiraly Saint Claire
Free Falling was presented as part of Wild Card, a series of specially curated evenings at Sadler's Wells Theatre from a new generation of dance makers, bringing fresh perspectives to the stage. www.sadlerswells.com
To read more about Hagit Yakira and Free Falling, click here http://www.hagityakira.com