Hofesh Shechter’s Sun – Dance Review

Something You Said’s Carol Bowditch checks out Hofesh Shechter’s latest contemporary dance production. 

We are told that everything will be just fine, we are shown the ending at the beginning for the reassurance that the performance will indeed be alright. Our lungs slowly fill with wafting smoke and we’re left for an uncomfortably long time in the dark. Soon we’re joined by a sheep, two sheep, three sheep, pictured on plywood cut outs dancing in unison. A fox joins them then darkness again and audio of woman screaming. The alternative dance performance by Hofesh Shechter uses a collective of modern and classic influences in his seamless Sun performance. Contemporary grimey animistic dance paired with throbbing industrial music is soon followed by a piano concerto and the dozen dancers holding fifth position, then more sheep appearances…

Sun is enjoyed as more of a musical theatre performance rather than a loose contemporary dance production. We see that soon the fox and sheep are replaced by a colonizer and an Indigenous character, followed by a hooded thug and so on, between the changing figures of clashing with authority we are reminded of the what remains constant as time passes, the sun. As the performance draws to an end, the lights are raised on the audience as the voice-over, that was previously kind and reassuring, speaks of the responsibilities that all humans have for action in relation to human rights, then we are treated to our “fucking happy ending”.

The athleticism of the dancers was remarkable and it was hardly surprising that, after 70 minutes of utilising every single muscle, they were covered in sweat and visibly physically spent from exhaustion. The scenes that were particularly beautiful to watch unfold were the chasing of the sun, where a single dancer pivoted his chest in a circular motion following the movements of the swirling lights above. Also, where several of the female dancers had undressed and continued to dance simultaneously jutting their hips ever so slightly in a subtle sequence, only to be followed by a flash of light and menacing, hypnotised, full body movements seconds later.

The Israeli born choreographer was responsible for both the movement and the sound design – which was incredible and turned way up! Anyone with even a fleeting interest in dance would find this enjoyable I believe. I would warn you though, you may need earplugs and a hand to squeeze when the violent audio of a beating is aggressively pumped through the studio.

Tickets are $39-$79 with concession available. Performances are August 29th at 7pm and August 30th at 8.30pm. More info and tickets at the Sydney Opera House Website.

Sun Review by Carol Bowditch.