Dance for here & now

Dance for here & now

For master contemporary dance exponent Hofesh Shechter, work comes from a sincere place with the self, which people can relate to universally.

Composing his own tunes, creating his own stories and movements, which are performed by members of his group, Hofesh incorporates diversity in order to make the experience palpable for universal audiences.

“My work is made of emotions, which I think people are looking to feel, to experience,” he says, adding, “Also, the questions that are floating in my head are similar to the ones people around me have across the world, as well as the frustrations, anger and craving for hope. My work echoes a lot of that.”

From the United Kingdom to India, Hofesh travelled to many cities in March this year, including Attakkalari in Bangalore as a British Council initiative.

He indulged in collaborative thought processes with Indians while here.

“I had the absolute joy of giving workshops to some of the dance communities. It was a fascinating and energising experience and the enthusiasm we met was wonderful. I hope to have many more of these exchanges when we come to tour India,” says the messiah of contemporary dance.

When in IndiaHofesh will be back in India in September, with the contemporary dance performance Political Mother.

“It’s a hard-hitting, loud and powerful piece, including imagery, audio, movement, vocabulary, music and so on to give a total experience. There are eight musicians, electric guitars and drums, 10 amazingly talented dancers and a soundtrack with electronic sounds and recorded strings. The piece is colliding different worlds and energies throughout to create and build emotional tension in the conflicting images and the editing between them,” he explains.

Rendering the experience strong for both the performer and the spectator is a connection between Hofesh’s physical and emotional self.

“For me, the movements are a manifestation of emotions and energy. Making dance is about focusing energy into physical being and that’s the essence of it,” he explains.

Exploring this emotional-physical connect, he took his first rhythmic step with a youth folk dance company back home in Israel.

“Folk dance in Israel is a mix of cultures and traditions, a lot about rhythm, groove, community and group, power and joining power,” he explains, adding, “My ‘school’ thereafter in dance was mainly dancing with the Batsheva Dance Company in Tel-Aviv, under the artistic direction of Ohad Naharin, a powerful choreographer, from whom I learned a lot. This, and my folk dance training, is my origin as a dancer, which have inspired me to continue. Later in life, I studied percussion from some sort of need to come back to the basics of music and pulse.”

Emotional connect

At the core, Hofesh looks at giving the audience an authentic experience of emotions and sensations, through his dance compositions.

“My choreography comes from connection to emotions, to things I feel at the moment of creation, things that move me at that point of time. It is a personal sense of being connected to the body (when it works), which gives authenticity, honesty,” he says.

True to the present, Hofesh iterates that contemporary, as titled, is about being connected to the now.

“I find it most interesting when it’s a vessel, an echo of emotions and sensations that connect people to places they know, that they experience in their lives while giving them another angle or access point to their experiences. This access point is through the vibrations and the sensations of their bodies,” he explains.

Hofesh feels India, in context to the real world, is rich with amazing spirituality, which is collided with huge amounts of matter, resources, financial richness conflicted with poverty, land and nature, eclectic numbers of human beings. “In India is a sense of beautiful chaos, which in a way, can feel much more natural and connected to nature than the organised West,” he explains.

To highlight and remedy universal issues among diverse cultures through his dance is by addressing the question: ‘Why are people not nice to each other?”

So Hofesh dreams big: “To be satisfied with what I have. And not want more,” he signs off.