#JeSuis (4 stars)

This article is from 2017


An intensely-felt, sometimes horrifying piece of dance created in Istanbul by Aakash Odedra

There is an intensity to Aakash Odedra's #JeSuis that speaks volumes about the urgency of its creation. It's not perfect, and at times it feels clear that it is still a work in progress, but its confusion also comes across as a symptom of the panic, desperation and determination of the young dancers involved in its devising. Choreographed by English dancer Odedra, the piece was created in Istanbul over the past two years, and the main theme that pierces through its unsettling images is that of suppressed speech, and the difficulties of mobilising protest.

Six dancers are seated around a long table. There's an air of anxiety in their slick twitching movements and interrupted gestures. Before long they are joined by a man in a military coat, who moves with a disturbing erratic gait. He ousts the person at the head of the table and begins to take on the role of both oppressor and leader, chivvying the group into dance drills, bullying them when they try to speak individually.

Some of the graphic symbols the group have developed are loaded with gut-lurching power – the image of dancers being wrapped in cling film as they try to communicate, leaving them as mute wriggling worms, is unforgettable and horrifying. But there are positive emblems too: four women cast off their tops to reveal hot pink bras and embark on an aggressive provocative dance that seems to reference Femen, Pussy Riot or the Slutwalk. Eventually, hashtag by hashtag, the group seems to find their collective voice.

ZOO Southside, until 26 Aug, 8.30pm, £14 (£12).


  • 4 stars

A new piece of work from Aakash Odedra.