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6 March 2024updated 08 Mar 2024 2:51pm

The larger-than-life choreography of (LA)Horde

The collective’s eclectic, unconventional productions somehow work.

By Zuzanna Lachendro

The Marseille-based dance collective (LA)Horde was founded in 2013 by Marine Brutti, Jonathan Debrouwer and Arthur Harel. Inspired by the viral energy of what they call “post-internet” dance, the trio’s larger-than-life choreography has been seen in stage shows and music videos for Christine and the Queens and Sam Smith. They were also artistic directors for Madonna’s Celebration world tour. Now, Roommates, their first UK production, has premiered at the Southbank Centre with the Ballet National de Marseille. Six pieces, influenced by dance genres as diverse as ballet, Jamaican dancehall and house, serve as an introduction to the collective as well as a celebration of the choreographers that have shaped it.

Claude Brumachon’s Les Indomptés (The Untamed), inspired by the Aids crisis, stands out thanks to Jonatan Myhre Jørgensen and Titouan Crozier’s pas de deux, and Wim Mertens’ score. The dancers break away from and return to one another, exploring a relationship that shifts from tenderness to disdain. Less successful is Weather is Sweet, in which six dancers engage in much thrusting and floorwork: its message of self-love is lost in a whirlwind of suggestive movement.

Lucinda Childs’s minimalist dance piece Concerto, accompanied by Henryk Górecki’s harpsichord concerto, needs more dynamism, and a bigger ensemble than the seven black-clad dancers that perform. By contrast, in the closing company-wide choreography, Room with a View, with club-inspired music by the French producer Rone and dancers in streetwear, the troupe seemingly moves without direction – one of the dancers was tossed around by an arm or leg on different occasions – krumping, early Noughties-style, with a spirit of defiance and rebellion. Despite occasional missteps – perhaps because such different pieces should clash – through its embrace of individuality this eclectic, unconventional production somehow works. (LA)Horde has turned eccentricity into an art form.

Ballet National de Marseille: Roommates
Southbank Centre, London SE1

[See also: 50 years of Manon]

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This article appears in the 06 Mar 2024 issue of the New Statesman, Bust Britain

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