d’avant – 4 singing dancers or 4 dancing singers?

Wonderful Review: d’avant – Sasha Waltz and Guests @ Southbank, London

d’avant is an intriguing performance of 4 dancing singers that is poignant, unique and funny. Set against the backdrop of a construction site, the 4 singing men challenge each other, testing their friendship, they fight and love. With beautiful vocal accompaniment and physical performance they explore devotion and iconography through a costume changing procession that includes a wedding, funeral, death. They transform from solemn medieval singers into a boy band, which is an entertaining highlight.

Auffuehrung "d«avant" im RadialsystemV in Berlin.
Auffuehrung “d«avant” im RadialsystemV in Berlin. Photo: Sebastian Bolesch

The performance is wonderfully choreographed, however it is more a physical theatre piece rather than dance. The singers perform beautifully, together creating a deeply moving vocal ensemble. The short dance elements are more about physical interplay, with the dancers intertwining, climbing around each other, carrying, pushing and fighting with some violence. The dancers become part of the many props that feature throughout; from the brick floor that is used to bury one dancer, to the set that collapses on another, a suit shared by two dancers creating a hilarious sequence of ‘whose body part is whose?’

Auffuehrung "d´avant" im RadialsystemV in Berlin. Photo: Sebastian Bolesch
Auffuehrung “d´avant” im RadialsystemV in Berlin. Photo: Sebastian Bolesch

d’avant is quite intense, but it does raise the question of ‘is this dance?’ I think it’s for the audience to decide and whilst no-one would be disappointed by the performance, it may not fit comfortably in the dance genre. But that shouldn’t stop you experiencing the creation by well known choreographers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Damien Jalet, Luc Dunberry and Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola from the dance ensemble Sasha Waltz & Guests.

Southbank, London 7 & 8 May 2015