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EMANUEL GAT DANCE

PUBLISHED: 11:23 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:18 22 July 2010

A RINGING silence descended on the auditorium and I found myself suddenly unbearably itchy. I wasn t the only one.

Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, EC1

A RINGING silence descended on the auditorium and I found myself suddenly unbearably itchy. I wasn't the only one.

All around me embarrassed audience members were gripped with coughing fits - seats squeaked and coats rustled. Meanwhile the dancers defied all logic, keeping perfectly in time to a music only they could hear.

Israeli contemporary dance group Emanuel Gat Dance have been heralded "the future of contemporary dance" by excited critics in the US. The three dances in their latest show are certainly impressive but I'd be lying if I said they'd excited me. It struck me as a show with plenty of physical prowess but no identity.

The Silent Ballet is 35 minutes of raw, primordial dance with no soundtrack other than the animal pants and grunts of the dancers, which seemed to boom in the stillness. But let's face it, 35 minutes is a long time and after a while the novelty of the silence wears off and you're left uncomfortably trying not to shift too much in your seat.

The second dance, Winter Voyage, is a racy testosterone-fuelled number in which two male dancers seem to both flirt and fight to Schubert's opera Die Winterreise.

The third dance was the most baffling - nine dancers move sometimes in synch but mostly in isolation to the sound of a recorded Squarepusher glitch-core live act. I felt like I was watching a rave in rehearsal.

If you like bog standard contemporary dance, this is for you. If you want dance that will challenge and exhilarate, wait for DV8's new show at the National. - REBECCA BOEY


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