(photo credit: Dee Conway)
Like a sensitive seismograph, the current edition of the Cannes Dance Festival
reflects, within constraints, its new artistic director Frederic Flamand’s
thematic proposition for the bi-yearly event.
Flamand, among his other
positions, leads the celebrated National Ballet of Marseilles, an innovative
company known best for its collaboration with world-renowned architects like
The festival’s theme, “The New Mythologies,” pertains to
current cultural and philosophical discourse of the mythological body, its
image, and dance/dancers’ bilateral relationship with
Flamand, with his artistic inclination toward technology, the
latest in new media performance, best presented by Japanese whiz-kid Hiroaki
Umeda, as well as several gallery installations.
Quite a few
choreographers responded to the call, transcending the safety of theater stages
to venture into museums’ spaces, among them our own Ohad Naharin.
a doubt, the festival’s new maverick and biggest crowd-pleaser was Hofesh
Shechter. The Israeli dancer-turned musician-turned choreographer moved
to London in pursuit of a career as rock musician several years ago and found
himself instead with an impressive career as choreographer, performing on some
of the most prestigious stages of Europe.
His energetic, animalistic,
highly energetic dance pulsates with strong vibes. His powerful cadre of dancers
won him prolonged applause, screaming fans and a rare standing ovation at
Both Shechter and Flamand’s companies are due to perform in
Israel next season.
Another work that deserved all the attention it got
was by the famous Canadian company of Eduard Lock, La La La Human Steps
opened the festival.
Lock’s new work is a dazzling virtuoso journey, with
some incredibly speedy spin-work on point. Israeli audiences discovered Lock’s
physical, kamikaze style dance many years ago with his emblematic dancer Louise
Lecavalier, whose mid-air vertical spins became synonymous with Lock’s unique
His brilliant stratification of the piece through innovative
lighting use and rich, textured music defies time and myth, and reaches to the
core of dance.
Also on offer was Heddy Maalem’s all-African team’s
rendition of The Rite of Spring
, where extensive mating rites determine the
survival of the fittest.
On the other hand, a more conceptual approach
taken by Thierry Thieu Niang, performed by 21 people well over retirement age,
managed to elicit a deep emotional response to their courage, persistence and
individual beauty, proving once more that art is the most powerful pro-life