1 October 2007, The Guardian, Judith Mackrell
Six months ago, the Place, the Southbank Centre and Sadler's Wells collaborated on a unique experiment, offering Hofesh Shechter the resources to expand his small-scale work, In Your Rooms, to a major production. It has ended triumphantly. The final version doesn't just fill the Wells' stage, it explodes out of it.
The expanded work has acquired an expensive new gloss, with superbly played live music and high-impact lighting. It's a tribute to Shechter's intelligence that these additions do not clutter the choreography, but concentrate its vision. In Your Rooms is in some ways a grimly existential piece, its 11 dancers struggling to communicate, cast adrift within an apparently indifferent universe. Ricocheting around a stage that is fragmented by deep shadow and blinding light, they alternately fall blankly into lines or break into frustrated displays of neediness, aggression and lust.
Despite its alienated subtext, however, the work is choreographed with such verve that its effect is almost ecstatic. Shechter possesses a ferocious sense of rhythm, and with his own score amplifying the choreography's pulse, the stage thrums with energy. Equally exhilarating is Shechter's ability to sustain dynamic extremes within his newly sharpened choreography. Structurally, he operates like a master watchmaker, the pieces of dance fitting together with precision. Yet his language could not be more visceral. At moments his extraordinary dancers twist and tilt with such ferocity, they seem to be trying to rip off their own skins.
It is an arrestingly powerful piece, especially for a choreographer who has been practising for just five years. It may have been unique circumstances that propelled Shechter to the large stage, but it is his talent that will keep him there.
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