FR 21.04.2017, 7.30 PM

Duato | Shechter

Choreographies by Nacho Duato and Hofesh Shechter

Ab 14 Jahren

The Art of Not Looking Back

Choreography by Hofesh Shechter


Ballet by Nacho Duato
Music by Pedro Alcalde, Sergio Caballero, Richie Hawtin, Alva Noto and Mika Vainio

World Premiere

"Duato | Shechter" is a double bill evening, with which the Staatsballett Berlin expands its aesthetic boundaries and breaks out of its own comfort zone.

The British-Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter is one of the stars of the international dance scene. With his unsettling and excessive choreographies he is celebrated world-wide and of course also in Berlin, where in the past his company has performed many times at various dance festivals. With "The Art of Not Looking Back" he has now given one of his works to the repertory of the Staatsballett Berlin.

The Artistic Director of the Staatsballett Nacho Duato will device a new choreography for the double bill program. Under the working title “Erde” (“Earth”) and set to electronic sounds arranged by Pedro Alcalde he tackles questions about the ongoing destruction of our planet. After "Herrumbre" it is the Spaniard's second sociopolitical piece in the repertory of the Staatsballett, which once again proves that Nacho Duato masters the choreographic spectrum from the ballet classics such as "The Nutcracker" to contemporary aesthetics.

The first piece of the evening, "The Art of Not Looking Back," begins in complete darkness; the audience only hears a male voice saying: "My mother left me when I was two." The rest of the monologue is distorted turning at first into a scream and then into a mere whimpering. Slowly, the lights turn on revealing six female dancers with expressionless faces standing on a plain stage created by Becs Andrews. From here a powerful choreography develops, in many parts in unison, but also with numerous energetic solo moments.

The movements set to a soundscape compiled by Shechter himself are often abrupt, uncomfortable, even painful, but always at a breakneck speed. Even if all this might appear quite random, all movements are, of course, strictly choreographed.

The choreography was developed in 2009 for the Brigthon Festival in response to the latent (self-)accusation that Shechter would be better at working with men than with women. Taking on this provocation Hofesh Shechter has challenged his dancers in the rehearsals by giving them unusual tasks beyond the previous body experiences.

Despite the clear personal reference at the beginning of the piece, Hofesh Shechter does not regard the work as biographical, as it is permeated by many perspectives and influences stemming from the rehearsals. But in spite of the abstract nature of the work, the theme of childhood abandonment is always explicitly recognizable.

Nacho Duato has deliberately taken the piece into the Staatsballett repertory as a mirror for his own choreography "Castrati", part of the triple bill program "Duato | Kylián | Naharin", which was devised exclusively for male dancers and which, however in a very different way, also deals with vulnerability and gender issues.

For the second part of the evening, Nacho Duato brings "Earth", a new creation, onto the stage of the Komische Oper. Together with more than two dozen dancers, the Croatian artist collective NUMEN around Sven Jonke, and the Spanish composer Pedro Alcalde, Duato takes on a choreographic journey concerning  the current state of our planet.

Continuing his sociopolitical program, which most recently has found its expression in the choreography "Herrumbre", the Artistic Director of the Staatsballett Berlin now asks how mankind is dealing with its by no means limitless living space. After all, humanity has brought itself to the edge of an abyss by wasting natural resources and by the thoughtless and profitable handling of the elements. This slowly but steadily approaching apocalypse will be expressed in "Earth" with the means of dance.

For the world premiere of “Erde”, Pedro Alcade has created an electronic soundscape. Three international composers of electronic music have contributed tracks; recordings from the urban space of Berlin complement the intense score. For the stage Sven Jonke has designed a multimedia world and the Berlin-based designer Beate Borrmann contributes poignant costumes, which have their very own effect.

The Art of Not Looking Back

  • Costumes: Becs Andrews
  • Choreography: Hofesh Shechter
  • Light design: Lee Curran


  • Choreography and production: Nacho Duato
  • Stage design: Numen + Ivana Jonke
  • Light: Brad Fields
  • Costumes: Beate Borrmann

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