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Tom Medwell

Hofesh Schecter Company launches London season #HOFEST

29 April 2015 Alice Westoby

Contemporary dance powerhouse, Hofesh Shechter Company, announces an exciting season of work, #HOFEST, to take place at four diverse London venues this autumn.

On Monday, Hofesh Shechter Company announced an exciting new season of work to take place this September and October in London at four diverse London arts venues; Sadler’s Wells, Royal Opera House, Stratford Circus and O2 Academy Brixton. The season of work will be a celebration of the artistic partnerships between the venues and the company as well as a showcase of the diversity and breadth of Shechter’s work.

For a company, that is consistently touring venues across the globe, to choose London their home city for their ‘longest period of work in one place’ is an exciting prospect. At the launch of the new season, artistic director of the company Hofesh Shechter, was joined by the heads of the four partnership venues that will host #HOFEST this autumn.

The season opens at Royal Opera House with Orphee et Eurydiceby Gluck (14 September - 3 October), an operatic debut for Shechter and his dancers.  Directed by Shechter and ROH director John Fulljames and conducted by John Eliot Gardiner, the opera will star British soprano Lucy Crowe in the title role of Eurydice. Fulljames spoke about working with Shechter’s bold movement vocabulary in combination with Gluck’s score saying it will ‘bring such freshness to the world of opera’.

Simultaneously, the company will be performing Shechter’s newest work, barbarians, which will have its UK premiere as part of #HOFEST at Sadler’s Wells from 18 – 25 September. The evening will be a trilogy of three different ideas and “three wildly different takes on intimacy, passion and the banality of love”.  Artistic Director of Sadler’s Wells, Alistair Spalding, has been a long time supporter of the company, with Shechter being appointed an Associate Artist of the venue in 2008.barbarians is set to be particularly experimental, with Shechter commenting that the company’s recent rehearsal period for the second piece in the trilogy took place in Germany between the hours of 10pm and 4am,  in which they were looking for new ways of expression in his “crazy playground” as he called it.  The piece will be the first for some time that the company has been able to explore smaller and separate ideas and is the first major new work since Sun, which is currently still touring.

The third partnership featured as part of #HOFEST will be with East London Dance. Based at Stratford Circus, ELD will premiere Shechter Junior, HSC’s apprentice company made up of young dancers who will perform degeneration from 1 – 2 October.  ELD began its work with HSC in July 2014 in order to develop artistic relationships with young people in east London with the aim to build new audiences in areas with low arts engagement. Speaking of his junior company and his links with East London Dance, Shechter said the “bridges between dance education and the professional world are incredibly important”, and ELD and HSC are helping to establish these links in the dance world.

#HOFEST will most certainly attract new audiences to view the company’s work during the season, especially as London’s flagship live music venue, O2 Academy Brixton, has been named as one of the confirmed venues. As Spalding quite aptly commented, “going to a Hofesh Shechter company performance is more like going to a gig”, and no Schechter work could fit this description more so than Political Mother: The Choreographer’s Cut, which will be performed at the gig venue from 7 - 8 October. Whilst it is starkly different programming to the usual artists that appear at the O2 Academy Brixton, General Manager Nigel Downs was enthusiastic that the production “perfectly unites contemporary dance with the soundtrack and atmosphere of a rock show”. The sheer volume and power of the production has the capability to attract new audiences to contemporary dance by “allowing you in through the music”.

Information about the performances and tickets can be found on the Hofesh Shechter Company website.

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