Skid/SAABA ★★★★★ Sadler's Wells Theatre | May 11 - 13, 2023

Skid choreographed by Damien Jalet and performed by the GöteborgsOperans Danskompani is an absolutely spellbinding experience. It is performed on an amazing dance floor tilted at 34 degrees and offers the dancers a mind-boggling, gravity defying challenge. Designed by New York artists Jim Hodges and Carlos Marques da Cruz, the set is apparently inspired by the measurement of earth's gravitational acceleration of 9.8 meters per second. It's simply an extraordinary experience to share the dancers exploration and adaptation to this ambience, and to trace a narrative that on a macro level echoes the adaptation of all life forms to their environment, and on a micro level deals with individual struggle to acculturate to different contexts. Damien Jalet's choreography wonderfully captures both the challenges and playfulness of this process and when the piece concludes with the birth of a being into this new world who is actually destined for it, the moment is positively triumphant. In contrast, Sharon Eyal's SAABA is about exposure rather than adaptation. This is a look inside the dancers and a revelation of their inner energies. It seeks to go beyond external categories such as gender and to engage with the pulsing experience of the human heart. Despite being technically a little ragged on occasion, this is a mesmerising work that thoroughly engages the audience emotionally. With these two quite different pieces GöteborgsOperans Danskompani sets up a fascinating dynamic that makes for an unforgettable evening and establishes itself as one of the world's preeminent contemporary companies.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo © Lennart Sjöberg.

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