November 14, 2017
Choreographer/composer Hofesh Shechter is at home with death, so at home, he finds it amusing. Midway in his production Grand Finale at Brooklyn Academy of Music, three men swung three limp ladies in waltz time, flopped their limbs on the floor with the nonchalance of a necrophiliac, and then, after being dragged off, the ladies revived.
Grand Finale opened with the chaotic energy of a war-time musical, with the period undetermined. Ten dancers, dressed in soft pants, shirts, and socks, paired in twos and threes moved in ways that suggest fighting or protesting. When they were not fighting, the dancers found corners to sink into or showed some spunk by doing a high stepping, down thrusting folk dance.
The piece closed with a series of black outs, in between which, the dancers appeared between the towers as though they were crowded in an elevator, or sat on the floor watching a couple kiss.
Six excellent musicians played throughout the work, always blending into the shifting scene by changing their location. Five towers made by Tom Scutt to float in and off the stage created the illusion of alleys in a cityscape. This macabre, cinematic work was blessed with Tom Visser’s lighting design, softened by smoke. At one point, five lights from upstage right crossed with a strong central pool of light, one of many striking patterns.
Born in Israel, Shechter collected dancers for his company based in Brighton, England, from around the world: Chien-Ming Chang, Frédéric Despierre, Rachel Fallon, Mickael Frappat, Yeji Kim, Kim Kohlmann, Erion Kruja, Merel Lammers, Attila Ronai, Diogo Sousa with Associate Director Bruno Guillore. The musicians are James Adams, Chris Allan, Rebekah Allan, Mehdi Ganjvar, Sabio Janiak and Desmond Neysmith.
Grand Finale leaves one feeling that Shechter found a way to make us exhale in these crazy times.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY — Deirdre Towers