Search

Dance review: Pina Bausch – Nefes at Sadler’s Wells

12:49 28 June 2012

Nefes at Sadler

Nefes at Sadler's Wells

Archant

The highlights are many in stunning contemporary dance work that evokes the Turkish city of Istanbul

»Three hours of contemporary dance. One interval. But the night flew by, thanks to the brilliance of the late great Pina Bausch, who choreographed World Cities between 1986 and 2009, the year of her untimely death.

In a first time collaboration, Sadler’s Wells and the Barbican are staging the full work in a cultural tour de force to mark the Olympics coming to London.

Nefes (Turkish for breath) is set in Istanbul. Influences are far and wide: silent movies, slapstick comedy, cabaret, 90s house beats and the gravely tones of Tom Waits all have a part to play.

The overall effect is a seamless composition, intertwining a multitude of impressions of different aspects of Istanbul: the hammans (baths), souks (markets), the Basilica Cistern (an underwater palace), green spaces, nightlife, traffic-filled streets. Not only are landscapes viewed from a fresh perspective, the piece also explores the reactions of the dancers to the city they absorbed during daily tours, before playing out their thoughts in lengthy rehearsals.

And the dancers are excellent: speaking, singing and pantomiming their way across the simple set, effortlessly gliding from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again.

The highlights are many: in the hamman the more obvious motif of decadence is broken up by the comedy of a bubblesoaked character raucously demanding a massage. Towards the end of the show the sensuality of water soaked dancers gently gives way to a stunning finale set to Tom Waits song All the World is Green.

There is not one stereotypical reference point or prejudice in this fascinating portrayal; the lack of cliché explains why the work not only endures but receives standing ovations in packed out theatres.

* Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch – World Cities 2012 opened on June 6 and is at Sadler’s Wells and the Barbican until July 6 2012. Nefes was at Sadler’s Wells on Sunday, June 24.

0 comments

Latest Entertainment Stories

Fri, 08:44
Sian Thomas (Mrs Grace) and Hugh Skinner (Block) in The Trial at the Young Vic. Picture: Keith Pattison

This unemotional Kafka is a certainly a trial, says Marianka Swain.

Thu, 10:22
Oresteia at the Almeida. Picture: Manuel Harlan

They’re the cradle of western drama, and now the Almeida theatre is basing a whole season around the Greek classics, its artistic director tells Bridget Galton.

Budding author Kat Gordon with her first book

Writer’s coming of age novel could see her own career take off

Wed, 12:19
Beck dons his best cowboy attire at the Barbican. Picture: Mark Allan/Barbican

Making a special appearance at the venue, the alt-folk icon called on guests including Thurston Moore and Simon Armitage, says Alex Bellotti.

Most read entertainment

Competitions

Good times with Greenall's!

Good times with Greenall’s, a Great British gin sponsors Great British racing.

Escape to the picturesque sights of Cornwall

Summer is finally here, and what is the number one holiday location in the UK during the warmer months? Cornwall, of course!

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder