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Political Mother

Numeridanse.tv 2010

Choreographer(s) : Shechter, Hofesh (Israel)

Present in collection(s): Numeridanse.tv

Video producer : Sadler's Wells

en fr

Political Mother

Numeridanse.tv 2010

Choreographer(s) : Shechter, Hofesh (Israel)

Present in collection(s): Numeridanse.tv

Video producer : Sadler's Wells

en fr

Political Mother

Political Mother is much more complex in many respects; it tackles several subjects and layers of meaning and brings different worlds and realities onto the stage,” explains Shechter from the other end of the line, in a soft voice that contrasts with his energetic work. “The show comes together through the montage of these clashing worlds.” 

For the artist, dance is about energy and extremes: from darkness to over-exposed light, from throbbing harmonies to the unloading of sound, from liberating dance to the alienation of the masses. Furious and incarnate, the production alternates solos/duets and ensemble scenes in their fullest force. This is accompanied continually with bracing, even booming music, somewhere between dirty rock and Middle Eastern harmonies, which he composes himself in dialogue with the musicians who will perform it onstage.

“It's not a philosophical piece,” he warns, “it's dance, so it always comes down to energy – above all, that of the dancers who represent a group of enthusiastic fans or followers submitted to oppressive diktats.” These issues of power and emulation belong as much to the political arena as the family unit, which is where the title of the piece comes from. 'Political Mother' runs on the ambiguity of the feelings of love and hate, empathy and domination.

“It's interesting to experiment with differences and emotional links and exploring gestural, sound and musical material in relation to all this.”


Beyond the words

Shechter is primarily interested in what we can learn as humans from the raw languages of dance, music and stage performance. What is to be done when the tensions at work in the world do not follow any logic themselves? When we ask him if there is more rage than tenderness in his work, he indicates a desire for balance between the two. The ‘massive chaos’ in his piece is still very much that of a city crushed under the fire of AK-47s. The piece speaks of “destruction to help us focus on the bodies”.

His work nevertheless has nothing to do with war, except perhaps for the radical emotions it brings together and which bombard humans. That said, his native land is, after all, Israel; the centre of an unfathomable geopolitical rift. He also trained at Ohad Naharin's Batsheva Dance Company, which he still aligns himself with today.

His dance bears its mark, with the pronounced influence of Wim Vandekeybus (who he worked alongside at the Batsheva): physically powerful, tragic in its exultation, emanating from latent underlying socio-political preoccupations that are never manifested in a logical or literal way. Though there are a few fragments of text throughout 'Political Mother', he uses them only “as an echo”. 

The rise of Hofesh Shechter has been fast. Trained in dance and music in Israel, he arrived in London in 2002 after a time spent in Paris. He choreographed the duet 'Fragments' in 2004 at The Place theatre, where he became Associate Artist. It was immediately successful and was extended into a tour. He then choreographed 'Cult', followed by two pieces shown here in 2009. Here he is again, a handful of choreographies – and several tours – later. Are you ready for another electroshock?


Born...out of a drum loop.

What came first, the choreography or the music? Hofesh Shechter, familiar with both dance and percussion, might well answer both.

“The music very much defines the energy and structure of the piece; it is always strongly linked to the choreography,” he explains, insisting that in his piece 'Political Mother', the musicians are among the 'characters' onstage and contribute to the process of emotional provocation at play.

In the foreword to the press kit signed by Shechter, he explains his creative process in great detail – to-ing and fro-ing between the two arts – and emphasises his “passion for low frequencies”.

The work is born out of an initial drum loop – very freely inspired by a groove by Peter Gabriel – that is both obsessive and inexorable. This is amplified with Egyptian acoustics, followed by strings. All this is finally performed by a bassist, five drummer/guitarists and a percussionist.

Shechter, Hofesh

Hofesh Shechter is recognised as one of the UK’s most exciting contemporary artists, with his eponymous Company touring worldwide to audience and critical acclaim. A former Drummer in a rock band, Shechter is renowned for creating the musical scores for each of his dance creations with his raw, atmospheric music complimenting his Company’s unique physicality. After graduating from the Jerusalem Academy for Dance and Music Hofesh moved to Tel Aviv to join the world-renowned Batsheva Dance Company. Here he began drum and percussion studies which continued in Paris at the Agostiny College of Rhythm. Subsequently he began experimenting and developing his own music whilst participating in various projects in Europe involving dance, theatre and body-percussion. In 2002 Hofesh arrived in the UK.

Hofesh made his choreographic debut with the duet "Fragments" (2003), followed by Cult for "The Place Prize" 2004 and "Uprising" (2006), his ever-popular work for seven men. The three works formed the triple bill "deGENERATION", Hofesh’s first full evening of work. In 2007 he was commissioned by London's three major venues The Place, Southbank Centre and Sadler's Wells to create "In your rooms". Drawing further from Hofesh’s now signature style of original music and choreography, Shechter was catapulted into the media spotlight with much anticipation surrounding the premiere of the work, resulting in sell-out performances and standing ovations at Sadler’s Wells Theatre.

After forming his international Company of highly skilled, individually talented dancers in 2008, Hofesh created "The Choreographer’s Cut" in 2009. Commissioned by Sadler’s Wells and performed at London’s iconic music venue the Roundhouse; Hofesh reworked his acclaimed double bill "Uprising/In your rooms" to feature a band of 20 musicians alongside a company of 17 dancers. Also in 2009 Hofesh was commissioned by Brighton Festival to create the “exquisitely acrimonious” "The Art of Not Looking Back" (The Observer, 2009) which was inspired by and made for six female dancers.

In May 2010 Hofesh presented his first full length work "Political Mother" which premiered at the Brighton Festival.

Returning to the piece in 2011, Sadler’s Wells commissioned Hofesh to create "Political Mother: Choreographer’s Cut", with an even larger band of 24 musicians and 16 dancers. Fresh from the show’s success, Hofesh’s worked in collaboration with the sculptor Antony Gormley to create "Survivor", a large-scale art/music performance which premiered at the Barbican in January 2012. Hofesh has just premiered his most recent work, "Sun" at the Melbourne Festival, which is now touring worldwide.

Hofesh worked as choreographer at The Royal Court Theatre for "Motortown" by Simon Stephens (2006) and on "The Arsonists" (2007), collaborating with director Ramin Gray on both productions.  He was choreographer for the National Theatre’s award-winning production of Saint Joan (2007), directed by Marianne Elliot and starring Anne Marie Duff. He also choreographed the hit dance sequence ‘Maxxie’s Dance’ for the opening of the second series of Channel 4’s popular drama Skins. Hofesh recently collaborated with the Metropolitan Opera, New York on Nico Mulhy's Opera, "Two Boys".

His last creations are "Barbarians" (2015) and "Grand Finale" (2017).



Source: Hofesh Shechter Company’s website


More information: hofesh.co.uk

Political Mother

Choreography : Hofesh Shechter

Interpretation : Maëva Berthelot, Winifred Burnet-Smith, Chien-Ming Chang, Katherine Cowie Christopher Evans, Bruno Karim Guillore, Philip Hulford, Jason jacobs, Sita Ostheimer Hannad Sheperd Musiciens : Yaron Engler (batterie, bendir), Joseph Ashwin (guitare), Joel Harries (guitare, batterie), Edward Hoare (guitare, batterie), Normam Jancowski (batterie, pandeiro), James Keane (batterie), Vincenzo Lamagna (guitare), Andrew Maddick (guitare) Joueurs de cordes (sur la bande sonore) : Christopher Allan (violoncelle), Rebekah Allan (alto), Laura Anstee (violoncelle), Nell Catchpole (alto), Tim Harries (contrebasse), Andrew Maddick (alto), Kai West (contrebasse) Interprète invité spécial : Leon Baugh Doublures Laura de Vos, Yeji Kim

Original music : Hofesh Shechter

Lights : Lee Curran

Costumes : Merle Hensel

Sound : Montage son : Tony Birch

Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work : Coproduction Biennale de la danse de Lyon, Théâtre de la Ville, Romaeuropa, Mercat de les Flors - Produit en collaboration : Theatre Royal (Plymouth) - Avec le soutien de : DanceXchange (Birmingham) - Commande du : Brighton Dome and Festival, Sadler's Wells Theatre (Angleterre), Movimentos, Festwochen der Autostadt (Wolfsburg, Allemagne)

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