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Acclaimed dance company discover the dark side of the sun in new work

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 06, 2013

  • Bruno Guillore and, above, Sun

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Hofesh Shechter is one of the UK's most exciting contemporary artists, gaining international acclaim for his raw, honest choreography and atmospheric music scores.

Any new production becomes the hottest ticket in town and audiences in Plymouth are lucky that the choreographer has built up a relationship with the Theatre Royal which means that he rehearses new work in the theatre's production facility, TR2, and performs at The Lyric – the theatre's newly named main auditorium.

Plymouth audiences have been on their feet for his previous shows – Uprising and In Your Rooms (a double bill in 2010), Political Mother (also 2010) and this spring's revivals of Uprising alongside The Art of Not Looking Back.

Next week the Hofesh Shechter company returns to the Theatre Royal for a new full-length work, Sun.

From the darkness of Shechter's emotive and often angry world emerges a bright white light dancing out of the smoke and chaos. It features 14 dancers, with Shechter's familiar atmospheric music score performed live.

The company's distinctive visual aesthetic has been realised by Olivier Award-nominated lighting designer Lee Curran and for the first time there is a set – a room that was once grand, perhaps royal. This, together with heavily designed costumes, aims to create a dramatic experience that is not modern life, but like peering into a part of a history lesson.

Hofesh Shechter's assistant choreographer and lead dancer, Bruno Guillore, says the work that the company does is evolving all the time.

"Every piece we do, we learn from the piece before – it becomes more complex and more courageous," says Bruno.

"This piece I think is more complex and less approachable for the audience. It's very eclectic with what it shows. It's not really one universe, but is being developed almost as a patchwork. It's quite different from what we did before.

"It's the funniest piece... and it's the darkest piece as well. I think you have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy it.

"With Political Mother it was easy to enjoy and go with it. This one is very different, but it's a very good thing to challenge the audience.

"We do what we think is interesting and original.

"The title refers to the sun as an element – something good we're looking for and warms you and that we enjoy. But there's another side which can really damage you and overwhelms you."

Bruno began dancing around the age of nine... and hated it.

"I was a very aggressive and violent child and my parents were really against violence and ballet was suggested as a way to get rid of energy," says Bruno. "I hated it so I stopped going without telling my mother. Then the teacher called six weeks later and my mother found out.

"So they had to bribe me. I liked windsurfing, that was my passion, so if I went to ballet, at the end of the year I'd get a little jacket or something.

"I'd rather have done Kung Fu or Kick Boxing, not wearing tutus and leather shoes.

"Then at 17 or 18, I really started to enjoy it. My mother always connected to art as an interesting way to live your life, instead of doing an office job."

Hofesh Shechter's Sun is at The Lyric, Theatre Royal Plymouth, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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