Last Work

21 October 2015 | 3:29 pm | Simon Eales

"Last Work balances endings and beginnings in its exploration of motion and emotion."

Batsheva Dance Company's Last Work balances endings and beginnings in its exploration of motion and emotion. Form and organisation replace time as a symbolic entity. Infancy cedes to infinitude and the individual to its double, mirror, or group.

The piece begins with a man in blue clothes running on a treadmill, facing our left at the back of the stage. He'll remain that way for the next hour and ten minutes. This visual metronome offsets the company's marionette-style mixed solos in the first section: all flexibility, circles, collapses, and trailing limbs.

Ohad Naharin's choreography focuses on the human body's facility. Limber isolations are essential to his language: a foot takes on its own life and hip-thrusting embarks on a narrative. His finesse reveals itself in his use of these myriad surprising threads to express complex emotional states. We witness expression's vivid construction.

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A love story appears to play out in the second movement, starting by chance with our romantic subjects thrown from the troupe's clustered vibrations. It's a relief to find dribs of chaos seep into the almost scientific, though dextrous, biological display. Here, the individual meets resistance and collaboration.

Following an extended down-beat interlude in which emotions seem to eek out stiltingly to the ambient soundtrack, Naharin drives his piece to carnivalesque climax. Hard tech music and a flowing use of space leads to Last Work's powerful final symbol: each performer, including the runner (now holding a white flag), is package-taped into a network suggesting we're all, each part of us, connected.