Dance United / Hofesh Shechter / Russell Maliphant & Adam Benjamin, Destino

Review in Issue 21-2 | Summer 2009

In The Empire’s Fall, the opening piece of the trilogy presented, Hofesh Shechter skilfully reminds us why he’s making ripples in the dance world. His choreography attacks the state of masculinity; visceral pounding musical beats in tandem with head-banging and feet-stamping. At the heart of the work is male isolation. Overhead spotlights zoom down above the six men and highlight their loneliness. The moments which connect with me are the softer, more vulnerable ones in which soothing and ambient notes lead haunting movement – the men as shadows of what they could be.

Junaid Jemal Sendi and Addisu Demissie are two young Ethiopians whose lives have been transformed by dance, which has taken them from the streets of Addis Ababa. They have been dancing together since they were twelve, and in A Holding Space, a new work choreographed by Russell Maliphant and Adam Benjamin, their unique and binding connection is exploited expertly. Dressed all in white, the pair twist and tumble as one, most poignantly in the opening and closing images in which, it seems, they are one body.

The final piece gives the evening its name: Destino. It is choreographed by Dance United’s Tara-Jane Herbert and Susannah Broughton with a wondrous score by Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber. The piece boasts a cast of over 130 non-professional dancers, with an age range of 8 to 89. The intention was to create a work exploring themes of hope, choice and destiny. Whilst it is quite a task to choreograph so many, the work here is plodding and dull – the boy who forgets the next step and pulls up his trousers steals the limelight.

Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Mar 2009

This article in the magazine

Issue 21-2
p. 32