News: Hofesh makes the moves for Skins

Friday 8 February 2008

The new series of Channel 4’s teen drama Skins opened on Monday (11 Feb. E4, 10pm) with a pounding two-minute dance scene choreographed by rising star choreographer Hofesh Shechter.

(Repeated Thurs 14 Feb at 10.30pm on Channel 4)

Shechter was commissioned to create the two-minute work by Skins co-creator Brian Elsley and producer Chris Clough. Skins launched a year ago on E4 and is the channel’s most successful home-grown commission attracting one of the biggest audiences ever seen on a digital channel. Created by Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain, the first series was a huge hit with audiences and critics alike, and has been described as doing for teenagers, what *This Life* did for twentysomethings.

Thirty two year old Israeli born Hofesh Shechter is renowned for creating intensely physical movement with a young, urban feel. Last year his new work In Your Rooms was at the centre of a unique project giving audiences the chance to see it develop as it progressed across London over the course of seven months, from T*he Place*, to T*he Queen Elizabeth Hall*, culminating in sell out performances at Sadler’s Wells. The Observer’s dance critic Luke Jennings said it was ‘probably the most important new dance-work to be created in Britain since the millennium’‘ – but his appeal has already reached beyond the dance world. In July 2007 he choreographed the National Theatre’s production of *Saint Joan* directed by Marianne Elliott and starring Anne-Marie Duff.

Hofesh says he was particularly pleased to be asked to work on Skins. “…the programme creators were looking for a choreography that complemented the cool but edgy content of Skins. They wanted dance which was accessible but not conventional and found that quality in my work. It was a great experience to create and adapt choreography for TV and I find it inspiring and refreshing to work in genres outside the dance world.”

The opening scene of Skins series two sees lead character Maxxie, who dreams of being a professional dancer, rehearsing in a disused church. Actor Mitch Hewer, who plays Maxxie had no professional dance training and spent three weeks learning the choreography with Hofesh Shechter Company member Leon Baugh. The two other dancers seen in the piece are TJ Lowe and Pippa Frost who trained at Laban.

Before arriving in the UK in 2002, Hofesh Shechter performed with Israel’s internationally acclaimed Batsheva Dance Company where he worked with choreographers such as Ohad Naharin and Wim Vandekeybus. After several years studying drumming and percussion in Israel and France, he moved to the UK, joining the Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company. He made his choreographic debut in 2004 at The Place before becoming an Associate Artist of the venue. In 2006, Shechter received the Robin Howard Foundation Commission to create Uprising, seen at The Place as part of his first full-evening programme of work. He is also creative associate of The Point, Eastleigh.

This year Shechter launched the Hofesh Shechter Company which will tour *In Your Rooms* to thirty venues internationally and to eighteen UK venues as part of a Dance Touring Partnership tour. Details coming soon on www.dancetouringpartnership.co.uk

The second series of Skins starts on E4 on Monday 11 February 2008 at 10pm and is repeated on Channel 4 on Thursday 14 February 2008 at 10.30pm.

The opening scene choreographed by Hofesh Shechter can be seen at www.youtube.com/sadlerswells

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