Pierre Rigal: Scandale – Sadler’s Wells London

Scandale describes itself as hip hop dance theatre at its ‘most curious’. This curiosity no doubt springing from the mind of it’s creator Pierre Rigal; athlete, mathematician, graduate from film school, dancer, choreographer and director. The show asks the question ‘is music or movement the mother of dance?’ and for the next 60 minutes six dancers and one musician explore the birth of choreography.

The piece begins with an ominous dark figure (the shaman) claiming the space, his movements are echoed with a microphone that records and loops the sounds made by his feet on the floor and the movement of his elaborate and ceremonial costume. This technique is used continuously throughout the piece as the dancers’ breath, laughter and vocalisations get recorded to create new movements of music. As each movement evolves it almost seems as though the shaman is capturing and collecting pieces of the dancers to create something new. This adds to an element of ritualisation and ceremony that grows throughout the piece. 

The set is simple, consisting of six upright rectangles that the dancers reveal and hide themselves behind. This minimalistic set allows the eyes of the audience to focus on the movement and the music that is being performed. As we should, because what is being performed is truly impressive and thrilling.

These seven performers are incredibly in tune with each other, using mirroring techniques to create a physical rise and fall within each movement. As the choreography becomes increasingly awe-inspiring the music heightens and as the dancers begin to synchronise the music creates a unity that is almost trance like, almost spell binding.

This profoundly moving and incisive performance by incredible French artists was brought to London by ‘Breakin’ Conventions’, a Sadler’s Wells Program.

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Jessica Dick

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