Hofesh Shechter, OBE: a retrospective

We were delighted to hear that Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Hofesh Shechter was awarded an honorary OBE for Services to Dance in the Queen’s birthday honours list. In celebration of his achievements, we take a brief look at his life and work.

Born in Jerusalem, Hofesh first moved to the UK in 2002, after studying at the Jerusalem Academy for Dance and Music and performing with the Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv. His choreographic debut was in 2003 with Fragments, a piece that put him on the map in the world of dance and ultimately led to The Place Prize commissioning his sextet Cult, which won the Audience Choice Award in 2004.

In 2007, Sadler’s Wells, the Southbank Centre and the Place co-commissioned In your rooms, a piece both personal and political that Hofesh choreographed, wrote the score for and performed in. This played to a sold-out crowd at Sadler’s Wells and earned him the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Modern Choreography.

It was in 2008 that Hofesh was named Associate Artist at Sadler’s Wells, and he formed the Hofesh Shechter Company in tandem with Helen Shute and Colette Hansford the same year. Hofesh and his company have since created an array of inspiring work on our stage.

A major success for the company came in May 2010 when Hofesh’s first full-length work Political Mother premiered at the Brighton Festival, winning five-star reviews across the board. It toured the UK, and was expanded for a Choreographer’s Cut in 2011, eventually playing at Brixton Academy for a huge staging in a 5,000-capacity rock venue that received similarly ubiquitous praise.

Sun, an ecstatic exploration of order and chaos, darkness and light, came to Sadler’s Wells in 2014 after a premiere at the Melbourne Festival in Australia. The trilogy barbarians showcased trance-like energy exerted with Hofesh’s characteristic wit and wryness. #HOFEST was a four-week long season of performances, giving audiences the opportunity to experience the breadth of Hofesh Shechter Company’s ground-breaking work across four venues – Sadler’s Wells, the Royal Opera House, the O2 Academy Brixton and Stratford Circus. The bleakly comic Grand Finale was nominated for an Olivier Award and returns to our stage this July.

On receiving the honour, Hofesh said:

Being an immigrant in this country, I was always in awe of Britain’s generosity and inclusivity. My work has been supported here for many years by partners and the Arts Council and I was hoping that it gives back in return through the best of efforts and the highest possible quality art work that engages, challenges, questions and inspires. I am humbled, and, in all honesty, touched by this generous gesture of appreciation and recognition of this work we have done – for all these years I was surrounded with many others that worked tirelessly, with trust and belief, and this recognition is theirs just as much.

We are immensely proud of Hofesh and his creations. An honorary OBE for Services to Dance is the latest accolade for this outstanding artist.

Tickets to Grand Finale can be found on our website.
Photo credit: Jake Walters.