The get together was already going when folks entered the theater for Rone and (La)Horde’s “Room With a View” at N.Y.U. Skirball on Saturday evening. A heavy beat pounded, and haze hung within the air round a set of giant, crumbling stone steps. In the course of this hulking construction, the digital music artist Rone was enjoying a D.J. set, surrounded by dancers of Ballet Nationwide de Marseille. Beneath, two performers negotiated a personal battle, erotic and aggressive. Euphoria and hazard mingled.
Introduced as a part of Dance Reflections, a bountiful eight-week pageant sponsored by Van Cleef and Arpels, “Room With a View” was New York Metropolis’s introduction to (La)Horde, the a lot buzzed-about group on the helm of Ballet Nationwide de Marseille. Working as one entity, its three members — Marine Brutti, Jonathan Debrouwer and Arthur Harel — share an curiosity in collapsing hierarchies amongst dance kinds and a perception within the continuity of the digital world and the actual world (it’s all one massive place). Their previous collaborators embody Sam Smith and Spike Jonze; they’re the creative administrators of choreography for Madonna’s Celebration Tour.
“Room,” an immersive evening-length work, unsettling however in the end hopeful, was the stronger of two packages (La)Horde delivered to Skirball. Within the second, on Wednesday and Thursday, two excerpts from its “Age of Content material” shared the stage with dances by the Paris-based choreographer Lasseindra Ninja — celebrated for her work within the European vogueing scene — and the trailblazing American postmodernist Lucinda Childs.
Throughout the 2 evenings, some recurring obsessions surfaced: using the wonderful line between lust and violence; giving expression to our most primal impulses; tapping into the chances of a youthful, rebellious collective spirit. These had much more energy in “Room,” which, whereas not overtly narrative, traced a thematic arc, from folks treating one another very badly to attaining one thing like unity via shared resistance.
This system notes for “Room” describe the setting as a marble quarry, however extra apocalyptic photographs got here to thoughts: the ruins of an amphitheater, or a bombed-out constructing.
Sand spills from the rafters; rubble crashes down with a growth. Along with sudden explosions in Rone’s largely intoxicating rating, a few of the work’s photographs landed as extra disturbing than they’d have at a much less war-torn time in world historical past.
(La)Horde’s deft use of house pulls our consideration in a number of instructions. One couple stalks the higher ranges of the rocks, trapped in a protracted, brutal duet, smothering and strangling one another. Within the meantime, a number of dancers down under have eliminated their clothes — Salomé Poloudenny’s deconstructed road garments; it is a fashionable revolution — and stand with their fists within the air. In a very surreal second, dozens of almost-dead fish fall from the ceiling, flapping. Individuals with brooms come out to brush them up: an interlude, a reset.
The dancers encompass Rone as soon as once more, this time on the ground of the stage. Contaminated by the music, Nathan Gombert breaks away from the group, a fierceness flowing up via his buoyant slashing limbs. The spark he ignited appears to unfold. A riotous vitality rises, with punches thrown and center fingers shoved, repeatedly, at somebody out past the viewers — or, who is aware of, possibly at us.
In joyfully hurtling, acrobatic accomplice work, the dancers catapult one another into the air, climb on one another’s shoulders, fall again into one another’s arms. They transfer nearer and nearer to unison, ultimately discovering it in a elegant calm.
Taking within the full, contradictory spectrum of the dancers’ interactions, the collision of combating and loving, I discovered myself pondering of fractured political actions, even (particularly) these by which folks broadly share comparable values and goals. The picture of a person lifted up after which devoured by the group seems greater than as soon as. No relationship is secure. The harmonious ending resonates solely due to the darkness that got here earlier than.
(La)Horde’s program with Childs and Ninja was much less substantive. Adventurous however aesthetically cluttered, it suffered from its conflict of kinds, which had been extra awkward than illuminating facet by facet. Childs’s orderly minimalism, in “Concerto” and “Tempo Vicino,” bumped up towards the daring pulsations of Ninja’s “Temper,” by which dancers strutted in sparkly unitards, cocked their lifted legs like rifles and, within the closing part, whipped their excessive ponytails round to Janet Jackson’s “Throb.”
The 2 (La)Horde works on this system, “Climate Is Candy” and “Tik Tok Jazz,” felt one-dimensional in comparison with “Room,” maybe as a result of they had been excerpted from an extended manufacturing. In each, the dancers lean right into a brash sexiness extra blunt than subversive, and at occasions enjoyably ridiculous. In contorted configurations and thrusting splits, one individual dribbles one other’s hips like a basketball. There’s a whole lot of humping the ground.
The ultra-exuberant “Tik Tok Jazz” combined the clipped vocabulary of TikTok dances with Fosse-esque strikes, all delivered with unyielding smiles. Set to Philip Glass’s “Grid,” it couldn’t assist however invite comparisons with Childs’s 1979 masterpiece “Dance” — a collaboration with Glass and Sol LeWitt — which kicked off Dance Reflections at New York Metropolis Heart final week, gorgeously carried out by Lyon Opera Ballet.
With its exacting and looping patterns, Childs’s choreography, in itself, embodies the repetition and ongoingness of Glass’s music (“Dance Nos. 1-5”). LeWitt’s black-and-white projections lengthen and multiply these qualities, creating the mesmerizing impact of a second group of dancers — with a grid as their dance flooring — layered over these we see onstage. (Remade for this event, with the Lyon dancers as an alternative of the unique Childs solid, the projections had been no much less efficient, although much less poignant as a touch upon the passage of time.)
In very other ways, (La)Horde attracts out the identical logos in Glass’s music, underscoring its relentlessness with an enormous wink. Pushed far sufficient, repetition can grow to be sinister. At its greatest, “Tik Tok Jazz” reveals this deeper degree.