Moves, drums and guitars—there’s a lot to hook you in Hofesh Shechter Company’s 70-minute act
t started off as a little sketch, a series of images, in Hofesh Shechter’s notebook. “It was a train of ideas whose somewhat contradictory nature interested me,” begins Shechter, one of UK’s most popular choreographers, explaining how he developed Political Mother, the 70-minute contemporary dance showcase that has gone on to garner rave reviews after it premiered in 2010 at the Brighton Festival. “It’s a very angry piece. There was a bit of a ‘let go’ in the creation process, allowing the piece to become extreme in its attempt to tell a story about human beings’ attraction to power and the ‘patheticness’ involved in that,” he says.
The show, which is in the city this weekend as part of British Council’s Impulse 2014, promises to be “hard-hitting, loud and powerful—using imagery, audio, movement vocabulary and on-stage music. There are eight musicians, electric guitars and drums, 10 talented dancers and a soundtrack with electronic sounds and recorded strings,” says the Israel-born. In India for the first time with his company of 14 dancers, he’s already toured Hyderabad, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore and says the response has been fantastic. “There is a genuine interest in contemporary dance and an appreciation of the physicality of our dancers’ performances,” he says, adding that the workshops they conducted have also been rewarding “as we got a chance to meet young people from local schools and dance classes.” An avid tennis player in his free time, Shechter says that when they are not working, they are touring. He also states that he does not endeavour to create a unique style. “It only matters that it has emotional integrity. My ‘school’ was mainly dancing with the Batsheva Dance Company in Tel-Aviv, under the artistic direction of choreographer Ohad Naharin. This and Israleli folk dance inspired me to continue to be a dancer and to create,” he explains.
Calling the Indian tour an emotional experience, Niamh O’Flaherty, the company’s producer, says everyone enjoyed “being out and about in the noise and the colour of the city streets, taking a tuk tuk, tasting the local food, as well as meeting people.” And as for Indian collaborations (Shechter had once said he wanted to choreograph for Bollywood films), she says, “Although we haven’t made any firm plans, we would love to collaborate with India as we have met some wonderful artistes and dancers on this first trip.”
Tickets from Rs.250 onwards. At Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Auditorium, 7 pm, September 20. Details: in.bookmyshow.com
—Surya Praphulla Kumar