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Crystal Pite & Jonathan Young: Betroffenheit, London, May 2016


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I saw tonight's performance at Sadler's Wells, and was very taken with it, a mix of spoken word and dance that doesn't follow any traditional storytelling but manages to express the of inner world of a deeply traumatised survivor. A slow start setting a claustrophobic tone in an unsettled environment, an exploration of a shattered mind, the psychological aftermath of a not quite specified catastrophe slowly unfurling on stage. At times it felt as if you're in someone's mind where nothing is fixed and everything returns to the one moment in time where life was irreversibly changed.

 

The first half seemed lighter on dancing than the second, more movement with episodes of sinister tab dancing and a few cabaret style sequences. The second half had some longer dance sequences that really made you notice how good the dancers were and how well the choreography worked for a difficult concept to express on stage. Hat off to all creatives involved.

 

It wasn't everyone's cup of tea and a small number of people left at the intermission, though most of the Sadler's crowd really seemed to like it and it ended with big standing ovation.

Edited by Coated
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:)

 

I can only second (third?) what Coated and Bill have said.  The place was rather fuller than I'd expected when I checked availability: I can't help wondering whether some people had gone back for a second viewing.  It's that sort of piece.

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:)

 

I can only second (third?) what Coated and Bill have said.  The place was rather fuller than I'd expected when I checked availability: I can't help wondering whether some people had gone back for a second viewing.  It's that sort of piece.

I would have gone back had I'd been free tonight and I overheard a couple of people last night planning to get more tickets ASAP, so your hunch seems spot on to me.

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Having missed Pite's Polaris last year, which garnered rave reviews, I was on the lookout for anything else she might bring to the UK. I chanced on Betroffenheit and booked on a whim. I am glad I did. The show itself was a bizarre spectacle for the first half, and hinted at a more tender, purer form of dance in the second half.

 

More than the show itself I was glad to see Pite's dance vocabulary in action - mesmerising, thrilling at times, and to my eyes, unique. It makes other contemporary offerings look rather staid. 

 

I am not quite sure it offers a readily packaged analysis of madness, or depression in dance. Rather, it was often mad dancing, mad moments, for madness. So at times, a little impenetrable. Whether it says new things about trauma is debatable, but it said what it did with verve, passion, energy and innovation. One felt at times that one was watching something from the creative mind of a genius, such was the polished oddity on show. Of course, this could be product of many minds making a good show.

 

Well worth seeing.

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I was staying near Sadlers yesterday and was intending to go to this as someone who had been said it was really very good with a lot going on etc .....but I was so tired yesterday evening I didn't in the end but wish now I had made that extra effort.

I do wish some things were on for longer though....only 2 nights!!

The same with Northern Ballets Jane Eyre .....just two nights at Richmond Theatre.

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