Home » London Theatre Reviews » Breakin’ Convention Presents Pierre Rigal’s Scandale | Review

Breakin’ Convention Presents Pierre Rigal’s Scandale | Review

Scandale: Rigal - Credit Pierre Grosbois
Scandale: Rigal – Credit Pierre Grosbois

Scandale is a nuanced, exciting work conceived and directed by Pierre Rigal, in which street dance is showcased as stunning art. The shows opens with the extended suspense of glimmers of sparkling gold in an extended darkness which lifts to light with a sound like a thousand distant feet. A minimal set of five sheets of indeterminate material and technology arrayed on a drum kit. This is the location of musician and drummer, Gwenael Drapeau, who composed the wonderful live music for the show with Julian Lepreux. By the end of the show, the music which ranges between extremes from chamber music to electronic sound has had a visceral, hypnotic effect as if it’s as essential as breathing.

Mr Drapeua begins by playing the part of a controlling master of ceremonies, part magician, part sparkling samurai, in what the hip hop theatre makers describe as a shamanic piece investigating the birth of choreography. Whether music or movement is the founding force behind dance.

Six dancers join him on stage, four fast men and two small but fierce women. Dressed in contemporary street costumes, we are shown their feet first. These dancers push the boundaries of what the human body can do with grace, speed and fluidity. When Gwenael Drapeau joins in, his movements are choreographed so it becomes impossible to be certain whether, with his face covered, he’s a man or a woman. There’s a sublime section close to the end where their abilities are harnessed to create surreal visual effects of wonder and thrill. Creating moments of dance not to be missed. Lighting designer, Frederic Stoll, does great work with his clever and atmospheric effects, adding to the atmosphere of magic and otherness in the show.

This is a show of high aesthetic quality, the director, Mr Rigal, never loses sight of the enchantment as well as the energy of dance.

Mr Rigal’s artistic collaborator and costume designer was Melanie Chartreux with additional artistic input by Roy Gently. Gwenael Drapeau’s complex costume is a marvellous thing, a centrepiece of intrigue and meaning in the show. This is contemporary dance theatre of the highest quality.

4 stars

Review by Marian Kennedy

Scandale. Pierre Rigal’s shamanic piece investigating the birth of choreography: is music or movement the mother of dance?

Set against a simple backdrop, the soundtrack ranges between extremes, from ambient chamber music to electronic sound effects. Simultaneously, words, cries and scandalous chants exert energy, as what begins as disorganised chaos slowly falls into structured choreography and a hip-hop spectacle.

Scandale stars dancers Steve ‘Lelong’ Kamseu, Camille ‘Kami’ Regneault, Julien ‘Bee D’ Saint-Maximin, members of b-boy crew Yeah Yellow, as seen on the Breakin’ Convention 2017 Luxembourg and USA tour, as well as at Sadler’s Wells Sampled 2018.

Breakin’ Convention: Presents… is an initiative to programme full-length works at Sadler’s Wells, providing the finest platform for grassroots hip-hop theatre makers, as well as welcoming the vision of contemporary choreographers working with street dance forms.

This is hip hop dance theatre at its most curious.

Breakin’ Convention Presents Pierre Rigal’s Scandale
5 & 6 Sep 2018

Sadler’s Wells
Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R

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