Recently we visited the Komischer Oper to see the double bill evening of Duato | Shechter.

The first performance was a feast; The Art of Not Looking Back is a spectacle which puts you under a trance while simultaneously forcing you to interact.  Hofesh Shechter, a British – Israeli choreographer, creates scenes which make it difficult for you to pull yourself away from. Your eyes become fixated on the stage while dancers perform guttural acts and harsh, jutting moves. A portrayal of internal struggle continues on while deep grunting, moans,  sharp screams and whines keep you attentive in the background. A unrelenting physical performance by all- women dancers create an uncomfortable feeling – something that is surely done on purpose. The costume and set design were modest, providing a blank canvas for the frenzy of activity. While in this state, you are fully attentive – allowing yourself to experience a range of emotions within minutes.  As soon as the next scene comes and you think you’ve wrapped your head around it – another jumble of screams and gibberish arise, making way for the next interpretation of Shechter’s frustration, sadness, numbness, and exhaustion. While almost disturbing at points, the striking simplicity of this performance was brutally honest and genuinely impacting.

The second performance was the production of Erde (Earth) by Nacho Duato. The most obvious and literal theme of this was Mother Earth and our blatant abuse and destruction of our surroundings. The synchronistic unity of the dancers shows the impact of our actions as a society. The performance went through clear and coherent stages of grief and confusion – translating our obsession with consumption and greed perfectly. Showing this distressing imagery and the absurdity of our actions, created a stunning wake up call to all those who question the current state of our planet. All of this was accentuated of by stunning costume design by Beate Borrmann, ranging from whimsical to outrageous, industrial to transparent. These contemplations were accompanied by a striking set, designed by Sven Jonke while the music being composed Pedro Alcade and Sergio Caballero. The set included a range of contrasts, such as blue laser beams occupying the entire theatre, and a massive transparent sheet curtain which concluded the performance by billowing over the stage.

 Unfortunately this production is no longer being performed during this season at the Stattsballet.