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  • Writer's pictureYumi La Blanca

Let go your inner rhythm on River Stage this summer

Under the rather scorching sunny spell, many cultural activities have been transferred from enclosed theatres to the open air. There are so many such outdoor events going on that it’s hard to choose… but if you opt for the National Theatre’s River Stage, you’ve made the right choice.

River Stage, the summer festival on the South Bank, is taking place this year from 15th July to 14th August, hosting quality shows and entertaining workshops by renowned performing arts companies. My husband and I had a chance to enjoy such a weekend with one of the exceptional participants, Hofesh Shechter Company, on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th August.

To be honest, I’m not very accustomed to so-called ‘contemporary dance’ in general, and I often end up having unanswered question marks in my mind especially when the choreography is too abstract. I found, however, the works by Hofesh Shechter Company captivating and inspiring, especially in ‘Clown’ which they not only performed live but also showed in a film originally broadcast on BBC Two in 2018.

Double Murder - Clowns trailer

The percussive music composed by the company founder/choreographer himself drives impulsive, anarchic and even aggressive movements seasoned with dark humour and sarcasm. The individually distinctive dancers let their energy explode in an ensemble form of controlled chaos - if you can’t picture what I mean, just find a chance to watch them dance… then you will see. During the two days we watched the extracts three times but never felt bored.

The company also offered free workshops. While we sat to watch a dance workshop that looked very energetic in hot weather (and I felt too old to do it…), we participated in their percussion workshop, led by the company’s percussionist Dominic Goundar who was so engaging and encouraging. Among many little kids and adults alike, we grabbed drums or bins or washing bowls to bang with wooden sticks. We had fun forming a drumming orchestra, making noise in various rhythmic patterns.

Hofesh Shechter Company will be there until Sunday 7th August (today) but if you miss their presence at River Stage, check out their company website for more performances elsewhere. Or, next weekend at River Stage, you will be indulged into a variety of different dance groups and interactive workshops. Have a great cultural summer, everyone :)

Hofesh Shechter Company

River Stage 2022


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