Théâtre de la Ville Presents BOTIS SEVA UNTIL WE SLEEP Review — Dreamscape Hip Hop Storytelling

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Shrouded in darkness from beginning to end, Until We Sleep keeps us reaching for meaning and narrative.  We are always in that moment dividing sleep from waking. 

Choreographer Botis Seva uses many tools to speak to us without words.  A continuous soundscape evokes birds, nature, and often danger.  Explosive booms turn spot lighting off in flashes.  Spears of light move up and down in diagonal flashes. Deities are costumed as birds of prey and reptilian conquerors.  Later we imagine axes are falling as booms, but we don’t know if they are breaking chains, wresting diamonds from a mine, or something else again.

In and out of the shadows, we are always trying to keep up with who or what is coming or going.  We first meet dancers slow walking to telegraph that this is a journey, and presumably one that only ends with the titular sleep. Sometimes hip hop-ish moves become a way to show allegiance and loyalty.  At many times the choreography is about struggle.  We feel spirits’ force fields always, as the dancers seem constrained or buoyed by their omnipresence.  

Théâtre de la Ville Showcases Experimental Dance

There are times when the physical prowess of the dancers itself seems to delete our sense of narrative.  At one moment a formation of bare torso dancers ripple as a break dancing ensemble.  Often, the speed at which dancers traverse the stage in parallel seems as quick as the lightening backdrop .  You too might be finding yourself wishing the lights were brighter and the dance itself was freer to touch our souls without encumbrance of serving the ever open-to-interpretation narrative.  These are dancers at the top of their game.  Curiously, they never emerge from behind the curtain to take bows.  We clap to the air as the theater’s lights turn back on at the performance’s conclusion. 

Théâtre de la Ville has imported Botis Seva from the UK for this sold out performance.  For an American in Paris, the audience is just as much a part of the story.  You feel how there is more of an appetite for dance woven into the public sphere, compared to what sometimes feels to this reviewer to be a narrower band of dance enthusiasts and a relatively inbred dance community  in the USA.  


Photos courtesy of  Théâtre de la Ville.


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Amy Munice

About the Author: Amy Munice

Amy Munice is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher of Picture This Post. She covers books, dance, film, theater, music, museums and travel. Prior to founding Picture This Post, Amy was a freelance writer and global PR specialist for decades—writing and ghostwriting thousands of articles and promotional communications on a wide range of technical and not-so-technical topics.


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