“We’re in the business of inspiring people. I want to change lives, like my life was changed.”
– Hofesh Shechter
We celebrate and inspire the freedom of the human spirit through dance. We travel the world with our exceptional tribe of dancers, breaking boundaries and releasing the visceral power that lies beyond the conscious mind.
We believe that dance has the ability to prod, poke and tap into our deepest emotions; a part of ourselves that we rarely access in modern life. We dance to know what it feels like, not just to live, but to be alive.
In all our work, we strive to move ourselves, and our audiences, beyond reason.
We are based in the UK and create our work here and in Europe. Our work can be seen in the UK, major European cities, Canada, USA and beyond. We employ a full-time, year round company of dancers who are at our core.
“I want audiences to be awakened, to experience my work from the gut. Trusting the gut is to me like trusting nature, or God, or a sense of purpose; a source, a spark. Trusting a higher and better force than our limited oppressed cultured minds.”
– Hofesh Shechter
My work speaks the language of the people, of the time. It’s not just for professional eyes.
It portrays something raw, real – the essence of the human spirit, its helplessness in the face of self and outer oppression and pressure but its ultimate victory; the ultimate victory of hope; an account of the tensions between the collective and the individual; control and the abandonment of control.
When my dancers are on stage, they are themselves, without pretence. We aim to cut through layers of artifice to reveal things for what they really are, the raw truth, biting life at its core, and in revealing the truth of the pathetic and beautiful human existence we want to make people aware, awake, and in turn understand they hold the power to change. It is that sense of brotherhood, comradeship in the battles of life, victory of spirit through persistence, through support that is my greatest ambition.
Music is an essential part of my work; it is its beating heart, its fuel. It creates space and atmosphere. Timelessness. The scale of the visual is matched by epic, multi-layered cinematic soundtracks, often played live. The live band infuses more life, danger and edginess to the performance. Nothing can match the atmosphere of live music.
My work is highly cinematic, moving and flowing its focus between tribal moments that fill the stage, and intimate private scenes; editing between the individual’s emotion and character in counterpoint to the group. How small the individual is. How influential the individual can be. The tension of our social existence lies in the stretch between existing social orders and the individual’s craving for freedom.
I want people to experience my work in large spaces, because I see the power of the communal experience to connect, to amplify the senses, to focus the learning about ourselves and to inspire each other.
Hofesh Shechter Company was founded in 2008, by Shechter, Helen Shute and Colette Hansford.
Since 2008, the company has produced works including Shechter’s first “Choreographer’s Cut” – commissioned by Sadler’s Wells and performed at The Roundhouse. He reworked his acclaimed double bill Uprising/In your rooms to feature a band of 20 musicians alongside a company of 17 dancers.
In 2009, Hofesh was commissioned by Brighton Festival to create the ‘exquisitely acrimonious’ The Art of Not Looking Back (The Observer, 2009), which was inspired by and made for six female dancers.
In May 2010 his first full-length work Political Mother premiered at the Brighton Festival, winning five star reviews from all the major national press and subsequently embarking on an extensive international tour, further cementing the Company’s reputation.
In 2011 he created a second ‘Choreographer’s Cut’, this time for Political Mother – the result was ‘a howling beast of a dance show’ (Metro), featuring over 40 performers. It later went on to play in Hong Kong and Paris in Autumn 2014.
Hofesh often works with collaborators, notably with Antony Gormley on Survivor, commissioned by the Barbican, which sold out its entire run in January 2012. In October 2013, Shechter unveiled his next major creation Sun at Melbourne Festival, co-produced by partners around the world and again both disrupting and entrancing audiences with “a powerful, deliberately unstable and wholly absorbing work.” (ABC Australia).
Shechter’s trilogy, barbarians, premiered in 2015 and has since toured the world. Also in 2015 the company presented #HOFEST, a month-long festival of work in four contrasting venues in London which included the Royal Opera House and the Brixton Academy.
In 2016 Henny Finch joined the company as Executive Director.
A new full production, Grand Finale, premiered in 2017 and embarked on a world tour which will continue throughout 2018, when projects will also include a revival of Hofesh’s production of Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice at La Scala, Milan, co-directed with John Fulljames; a UK and international tour of Clowns and a new companion project performed by our apprentice company, Shechter II; and the conclusion of our 3-year talent development project East Wall, which culminates in a large-scale spectacle of dance and live music at the Tower of London, in partnership with East London Dance, Historic Royal Palaces and LIFT.
Hofesh Shechter Company is Resident Company at Brighton Dome.