A Diversity Of Dance In The Associates At Sadler's Wells

By Laura Dodge Last edited 96 months ago
A Diversity Of Dance In The Associates At Sadler's Wells ★★★☆☆ 3

A Picture of You Falling. Photo: Michael Slobodian

Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆

Three prestigious choreographers, united by the fact they are associates of Sadler's Wells, present a triple bill showing a diversity of 21st century approaches to contemporary and hip hop dances, with varying degrees of success.

In Kate Prince's SMILE, dancer Tommy Franzen interacts with various props — from a bowler hat to a pair of bread rolls — for comedic effect. Inspired by Charlie Chaplin, the slapstick humour wasn't to our taste and there were only tiny glimmers of Franzen's remarkable dance talent.

Crystal Pite's A Picture of You Falling included a voiceover speaking directly to the audience while two cast members arched their backs and entwined their limbs. The most interesting moment came as dancer Peter Chu dissected the movements involved in a fall — knees, hip, hands, elbows, head — by slowing it down and repeating, with explanations from the voiceover. Less explicable were the ominous words that "this is where it happened; this is the place". We waited for something unexpected to happen but nothing did — perhaps Pite was commenting on the mundanity of human experience.

Hofesh Shechter's the barbarians in love also included a voiceover, this time instructing the six dancers onstage as to how best to live. Commencing with "order must be", other rules for life included "share" and "don't eat with your hands", with performers responding to each with both animalistic movements, such as beating their chests, and highly technical steps, including classical arm lines and pirouettes.

What is most fascinating is when the voiceover starts speaking with Shecter himself. "What are you doing, Hofesh?" she asks. "I'm trying to make a dance piece," he replies. "I'm not trying to say anything... [except] maybe that love is complicated... I'm a 40 year old man looking for a thrill. It makes me feel alive."

All three pieces in The Associates are interesting, carefully constructed and thought-provoking, but it's hard to understand the deeper meanings their choreographers intended.

The Associates is at Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue EC1, until 8 February. Tickets £12-£29 and are available from the Sadler's Wells website. Londonist received a complimentary ticket to review the show.

Last Updated 07 February 2015