Photo by Camilla Greenwell
Live from London, streamed exclusively for Adelaide Festival
His name may not ring any bells for you now but their clamour is about to become deafening. In 2018, Sadler’s Wells commissioned Botis Seva, one of a new generation of UK-based dance-makers, to create a new work to help celebrate 20 years in their current theatre. The resulting work, BLKDOG, left the audience electrified and the dance world abuzz about the emergence of such a singular and unique choreographic voice. By 2019, BLKDOG had collected an Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production.
South London-born, Seva is one of those rare artists – Basquiat springs to mind – whose innate and largely unmentored talent emerged from experience and was nurtured on the street. Initially influenced by hip-hop theatre, and galvanised by dance as a personal means of responding to systemic racism and social deprivation, he has over five years evolved and honed a dance vocabulary all his own. The company he founded at 19, Far From The Norm is thrilling critics and audiences with its genre-defying physical poetry, steeped in Black pop culture.
In their padded hoodies, Far from the Norm looks like a feral street gang, and on one level the piece is about urban black youth and their ways of coping with hopelessness and fear. But impossible as it may seem, this is an exhilarating work about despair: they appear to be literally pressured from above as they jerk and pulse, largely on their haunches, with release coming in flashes of violent activity, co-ordinated with split-second precision as if by electric current. In some sequences, brilliantly synched to the score laced with menacing gun loading and cocking samples, you will swear the movements have been digitally manipulated, so knife-edged are the freeze framing and fast forward effects.
Country Arts SA Chief Executive/Executive Director Anthony Peluso said, “The Adelaide Festival of the Arts has selected these amazing and unique experiences from around the world. I’m very excited that in 2021 Country Arts SA will connect regional South Australian audiences to artists in Amsterdam, Berlin and London in real time. This is a new experience for everyone – a result of the times. Be the first to share in the new magic of live theatre and music on screens at the Middleback Arts Centre and Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre.”
If you’re interested in the future of dance, you must see it here, live from Sadler’s Wells in London.
“Seva’s on to something remarkable.”
“Dance does not get more exciting than this.”
THE REVIEWS HUB
Image Credit: Camilla Greenwel
BLKDOG is co-produced by Far From The Norm and Sadler’s Wells and supported by Arts Council England.
Choreographer Botis Seva
Creative Producer – Far From The Norm Lee Griffiths
Music Composer Torben Lars Sylvest
Lighting Designer Tom Visser
Costume Designer Ryan Dawson Laight
Far From The Norm Victoria Shulungu, Naïma Souhaïr, Hayleigh Sellors, Jordan Douglas, Joshua Nash, Shangomola Edunjobi and Ezra Owen
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