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Hofesh Shechter – Uprising / The Art of Not Looking Back (Plymouth)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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As ever with the Hofesh Shechter Company – wow.

The Brighton-based Israeli choreographer has coupled his all-male Uprising with the all-female The Art Of Not Looking Back in his current tour for an explosive 81 minutes (including interval).

Uprising, despite having been around for a few years now, remains fresh and dynamic.

The combats and T-shirt-clad dancers appear from the darkness in an engaging piece which is superbly physical, dramatically lit (by Lee Curran) and in which the visceral music (Vex’d) is ear-bleedingly palpable.

Exploring masculinity, the men strut and fight, josh and embrace in an ever-weaving display of athleticism and suppleness with Philip Hulford’s apparently improvised solo particularly impressive.

Up next was the retrospective The Art Of Not Looking Back in which Shechter, in a ponderous voiceover, talks about his mother deserting him when he was two while six women move amid the smog of dry ice.

Not exactly engaging, the piece is abrupt and somewhat aggressive seemingly exhibiting women as looking gentle and serene while disguising their inner violence and real being. Very uncomfortable and staccato but striking.

Hannah Shepherd is the stand-out soloist whose free dance is expressive and imparts a sense of fighting the inner demons.

Curran’s lighting is again atmospheric while music switched between John Zorn’s Litany IV, Bach’s Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins and Nitin Sawhney’s heart-wrenchingly beautiful Hindi ‘Fragile Wind’.

And as a piece de resistance, first the female troupe then the men seemingly rewind their set pieces in a fast-paced, smoke-ridden finale. Superb.


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