JAN MARTENS: ANY ATTEMPT WILL END IN CRUSHED BODIES AND SHATTERED BONES | London, Sadler’s Wells

Billed as “a production about the power that lies in being out of step and being different”, any attempt will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones (2020) by Jan Martens unravels this notion in a relentless, hammering, and uncompromising way.

The seventeen dancers on stage, aged between seventeen and seventy, and hailing from all walks of dance lives, already embody the very concept of diversity. But what initially looks like a mere dance exercise celebrating the beauty of different bodies in motion, soon reveals a deep political intent.

Through spoken word by Kae Tempest, text projections (including the worst insults you’ll read all week) and steadfast marching in multiple directions, the piece hammers home its message as an incisive meditation on sameness and difference. Even the score (the obsessively recursive Concerto for harpsichord (or piano) & orchestra, Op. 40 by Henryk Górecki) and the costumes (Cédric Charlier) highlight the fact that paradoxically, we are at once uniform and different; in Kae Tempest’s words, “But it’s hard to accept that we’re all one and the same flesh / Given the rampant divisions between oppressor and oppressed.”

Fierce and fearless, Jan Martens brings on stage the existential quest that is finding one’s own voice, amidst the cacophony of society and the tyranny of conformism.

Anna Zanetti

Playing 24 – 25 May 2022 at Sadler’s Wells.

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