Internationally-celebrated choreographer Hofesh Shechter’s Grand Finale was a whirlwind to watch: a chaotic, fast-paced, genre-hopping piece that used dance to transport the audience across a world that felt entirely anarchic. It was violent, comic and incredibly beautiful. The piece featured ten dancers and six musicians, enraptured in a battle of spectacle.
The dancers were incredibly committed to their roles: enigmatic, engaging and able to commandeer the stage in a way that was captivating. At times their movement was comic, and the next it would be intense and angry. The juxtaposition was relentless, the pace so fast that it was impressive that the dancers had so much energy – I’ve never seen a group of people able to maintain that level of energy for such a long period of time. Some of the dance involved the cast being tossed around the stage like rag dolls and I was so impressed at their ability to remain lifeless.
Having an orchestra on the stage was really striking and added real intimacy throughout Grand Finale. Their movement across the stage – at times hidden, at others in the forefront was captivating and the music was beautiful. The staging and lighting were cleverly done in a way that made the stage feel vast and endless, as though it stretched beyond the room. This was achieved through blocks constantly shifting across the stage and lighting that was transporting. It was absolutely stunning.
The story was difficult to follow, and perhaps in that sense is open to interpretation. It can’t be denied that the dance and production value were incredible, but I wasn’t always sure where the piece was taking me. It felt as though we were being shown all kinds of life, and all kinds of death. That perhaps we were being taken to places all around the world and shown that the human condition remains the same at all of them. At times, this made me feel slightly disengaged and confused. However, the visuals made up for it and overall it was a unique and interesting watch,
A stunning piece, with fantastic production values.
© M. Holland 2019