In a way, it's unfair that the first taste regional audiences got of this youthful New York powerhouse devoted to new, experimental European dance was a 2009 American Dance Festival recap of Decadance—a greatest hits retrospective choreographer Ohad Naharin's own company triumphed with several seasons before at ADF. Looking back, what company could have trumped that ace?
This time, since Chapel Hill is the company's second stop before its New York season at the Joyce Theater, we're seeing three works—including an American debut and a world premiere—by choreographers renowned abroad but largely unknown in the U.S., in out-of-town tryouts before their big-city bows two weeks from now.
Last month, audiences at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival saw the Göteborg Ballet perform Nordic choreographer and jokesmith Alexander Ekman's send-up of Ravel's Bolero. Here, in the world premiere of Hubbub, the 26-year-old choreographer responds to contemporary art criticism—verbally as well as in movement, since the work features a spoken text by him and colleague Spencer Theberge. So how much does Ekman love the critics? Here's a clue: This work began as an installation piece in a Stockholm museum. Its name: "Art Fart."
Hofesh Shechter has quickly gained a reputation as a choreographer unafraid to tackle big issues from controversial points of view. But recent works like Political Mother have left critics divided, and advance reports may portend the same for the U.S. premiere of The Fools. The costumes and eras change, but the roles never do in this work, about which Shechter states, "The Fools is about survival in a world full of dark shadows. In the end the fools always survive." But mixed reviews from performances last spring found the concept too top-heavy—which may be why the choreographer has reportedly revised the work since then.
Cedar Lake has toured Jo Strmgren's Sunday, Again over the past year; it's a satirical—and then savage—look at the apparently greatest challenge faced in intimate relationships among the upper crust: leisure time. Lord of the Flies on the badminton court, anyone? —Byron Woods