Hotel Central (Sydney Festival)
I was completely entranced by Claude Brumachon’s Hotel Central although another audience member declared to me desperately, I thought it would never end. But what is length when the choreography is so inventive and dramatic, when the endless desperation of our need for connection is being so vividly expressed in relentless and poetic motion?
I was surprised that there were no French-African dancers, observed another attendee, and it was only because I had attended the Choreographers Forum before the show that I had heard Brumachon explain that his was a very international and multi-cultural cast. You will see people on stage tonight from Latin America, Asia, other parts of Europe, who have left everything behind to work with our company.
I was more surprised by only three women dancers, in a cast of 15, and lost interest toward the end when a kind of narrative emerged of an unhappy and sexless white wedding. Far more compelling was the revelation of the different souls of the dancers, physically expressed, in simple connection or disconnection with each other and the group.
I was watching for drool to run from the mouth of choreographer Kate Champion when Brumachon explained his Centre Choreographique National de Nantes at the aforementioned forum. On stage together to talk about their various ways of working, Champion could only swallow hard when Brumachon explained, through a translator, that he had spent about 10 months creating Hotel Central with his own space, a fixed ensemble cast of dancers, and no hint, no advice, no comment from anyone.
Champion’s work, to premiere in the Festival, has had a 10-week rehearsal/conception period and five weeks’ development one year ago. But Champion spoke confidently and calmly of what she has been able to achieve in that time and even dared to counter that she would not want too long on a piece. It was a candid discussion of the eternal funding for the arts dilemma and its influence on the kind of work being created respectively in France and Australia.