Uprising © Joris-Jan Bos
Uprising
© Joris-Jan Bos
With big blasts of music, Hofesh Schechter invites you into his piece Uprising. Originally made in 2006, it is an entirely male affair. Groups of men struggle jointly to come towards an uprising. But this is not linear process. Before they get there they must struggle against each other. And though there are some more slow and intimate moments where one man cradles another, most of the piece is either aggressive or groovy. Yes groovy. Shechter uses a lot of rhythmic music, to which the men dance and move jointly in step. These moments are among the nicest of Uprising. The piece is therefore less of a story than an atmosphere. An atmosphere of individual frustration turns into competition, turns into brotherhood. Movements are often round and almost consistently rhythmic.

Uprising © Joris-Jan Bos
Uprising
© Joris-Jan Bos

There is palpable aggression among the dancers. There is an imagining of a mock-execution between two of them, a stand-off turned fight that seems to reference Cain and Abel, and the strongest moment of the dance, where a group of six dancers stand still and slowly hit each other, gradually escalating into a fight. That brief moment of uncomfortable quiet preceding the fight was an element, breaking the rhythm, that could have been used more often in an otherwise relentless groove forward. As the men finally storm the barricades and raise a flag you know first part of the uprising has succeeded. The final frame reminds one mostly of the Iwo Jima monument's (staged) flag raising. It is not a piece where any one individual can make a long visual solo impact because so much of the dancing is about the interaction of the entire group, but out of the group dancers like Bastien Zorzetto, César Faria Fernandes, Marne van Opstal emerge with clear short well danced solos, and dive back in.

In Your Rooms © Joris-Jan Bos
In Your Rooms
© Joris-Jan Bos

One of the scenes halfway through In Your Rooms immediately gave me a flashback to the party in Zion in the movie The Matrix – a group of groovy party people. And its not simply a reference to Schechter's country of birth (Israel), but the party-collective feeling of that scene and the need to belong. To want to belong to a collective or with another individual is a clear feeling throughout the piece. The heavy thumping, mostly live played soundtrack is sometimes interrupted by questions asking the purpose of life, trying to make sense of chaos, trying to create order: “what choices do I need to make”, “can I do better... no I can't”, “where do I need to go?”, “Are we surviving, coping or is there more?” Exploring attachment and detachment, at times men seek consolation with the woman in the group. The dancers fail and succeed in their communication with each other. Set under low light, while dancers often move in low stances or circle in groups kicking backwards, a live band in the top right corner with viola, bass violin and drums, creates a spellbinding atmosphere. The attachment-detachment question is finally not only personal but also political. Does one dare to engage politically to turn chaos to more order. Fernando Hernando Magadan, a dancer who has grown strongly in presence with NDT over the last 3 years, makes a plea to not follow leaders but for them to follow him, a person who admits he's still searching. All in all In Your Rooms is a groovy and entertaining assault on the senses.