Master vs apprentice dance-off

Under the umbrella title of Walking in the Night, the Danish Dance Theatre is staging three expertly choreographed and performed pieces of contemporary dance, which will delight audiences at 12 thrilling shows at DANSEhallerne in the flourishing artistic atmosphere of the Carlsberg district.

The world-renowned Israeli, Itzik Galili, and the up-and-coming Swedish-based Bosnian choreographer, Edhem Jesenkovic, are teaming up to put the Danish Dance Theatre’s international troupe of dancers through their paces. It is sure to be a memorable evening with a trio of danced dramas that speak directly to the body and soul. Jesenkovic has himself danced under the tutelage of Galili, and in this way the evening promises to be a classic meeting of the master and his pupil.

One of the world’s most sought-after choreographers, Galili will be overseeing two of his classic  pieces: Peeled and Fragile. Both perfectly showcase the troupe’s breathtaking skills and energy. Galili has created works for some of the most important companies in the world, such as Les Ballet de Monte Carlo, Batsheva Dance Company and Netherlands Dance Theatre II. He has been living in Holland since 1991 and this will be a rare, but extremely welcome visit to Denmark.

Peeled (2004) is a visually spectacular and dynamic work originally created for ten dancers, but now performed by the company’s 12 dancers. This compelling work depicts our quest for self-esteem and was created through the improvisation and provocative manipulation of Galili. The specially composed soundtrack (provided by Dutch group Percosa) incorporates the percussive rhythm of typewriters as a soundscape. An astonishingly breathtaking lighting design of 15 squares lit from above could be described as the 13th dancer. Sudden changes of colours and lights that follow and guide the dancers across the stage are an ingeniously integrated part of the performance. The choreography itself is a joy to behold and creates a highly intense theatrical atmosphere. Galili challenges the audience to listen to their own inner interpretations and reach out into the unknown.

In contrast to the raw physical energy of Peeled, is the sheer mystery and beauty of Galili’s Fragile (1997), a powerful, gripping and intimate dance performed as a duet. The choreography conveys a whole understated register of emotions, from the erotic to the melancholy. The fluid and technically challenging movements rotate seamlessly around a single downward strip of light. The choreography harnesses a powerful and attentive energy that captivates and hypnotises the audience.

The second half of the evening bears witness to the talents of the up-and-coming Jesenkovic, a former dancer from Danish Dance Theatre who is currently part of the Norwegian Carte Blanche ensemble. His 12 years of experience as a dancer have given him the backbone in which to develop his skills as a choreographer, and in 2011 he won critical acclaim for the performance 4 times Hundred – which was inspired by his childhood experiences in Sarajevo. Jesenkovic now returns to Denmark with the world première of his Dilemma of Obedience.

Both a choreographer and musician, Jesenkovic works intensely with rhythm and musicality. As you would expect, he works in close collaboration with the dancers, developing the choreography with a focus on intricacy of movement and the physical potential of the body.

Dilemma of Obedience is inspired by the chilling experiments of Stanley Milgram in the 1960s. Milgram demonstrated that people, in general, trusted and obeyed the commands of authority to the extent that they were willing to impose electric shock treatment on others. Eight dancers are supplemented by eight mask-bearing figures who represent the dark side of human nature. Man’s inhumanity to man and the negative consequences of group mentality are explored in this specially commissioned piece. It will be fascinating to witness Jesenkovic’s interpretation.

Aficionados of modern dance have already bought tickets for the sold-out première. With just under an hour of world class choreography featuring the undeniable talents of the Danish Dance Theatre’s group of incredible dancers, this could be the perfect introduction to an alluring and enchanting world that will only leave you wanting more.

Walking in the night
Dansehallerne, Pasteursvej 20, Cph V; starts Tue, ends 20 Oct, weekday performances at 20:00 (not Oct 15), times vary at weekends; Tickets: 210kr, under- 25s: 140kr, group discounts available,;