In Review

L-E-V Parts of Love review: vulnerability shines through

Radical choreographer Sharon Eyal showcases all the body can do in her residency at Peckham’s favourite multi-storey car park

Whoever said multi-storey car parks were dull? In Peckham, one in particular has become a huge cultural and creative centre that now has the clout to attract world-class artists. This month, the radical Israeli choreographer Sharon Eyal has taken up residency in said car park, moments from Peckham Rye station in the Bold Tendencies arts space.

The unconventional rooftop venue boasts sweeping views of the London skyline, with the Shard in one corner and the London Eye in the other, as well as art installations and a buzzing rooftop bar. The stage on the floor below is covered, but remains fittingly exposed to the elements. 

Eyal’s show, designed with her partner in life and work, Gai Behar, is built around the same well-trodden theme as her previous two: love. “I believe that when you search into something very deeply, the subject doesn’t have to be something new – the approach has to be new. How you present it and how you share it,” she says. And Eyal’s work is nothing if not new. 

Photo by André Le Corre

This weekend her L-E-V dance company (“lev” meaning “heart” in Hebrew) kicked off its month-long residency with the first of four programmes. The first, Parts of Love, is made up of extracts from their repertoire. It’s a haunting compilation that explores the darker and more dangerous sides of love. 

In Eyal’s signature style, the movements showcase everything the body can do. Watching the striking contortions and convulsions of the immensely talented cast of eight, we are mesmerised by the path of each individual muscle and protruding bone. She shies away from classical lines, kicking off the performance in a place of discomfort and holding the audience there throughout. 

Photo by Regina Brocke

Paying little attention to gender, Eyal, who has previously collaborated with Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior, dresses her dancers in androgynous nude or black leotards and black socks, and rarely pairs them up. You’re left less with the impression that you’re watching human romance unfold, and more the life of a group of organisms, with carnal and sometimes violent desires. Yet in the harsh, concrete landscape of the Peckham stage, the body’s ultimate vulnerability shines through.  

In the coming weeks L-E-V will perform collaborations with the National Youth Dance Company, and the record label Young Turks, closing with their own brand new material designed for the space. While Eyal’s work may not be obviously accessible, the universality of the theme, the innovative collaborations and the intimate scale of the work – not to mention the very hip setting – might be just what modern dance needs to beckon in an untested audience.

L-E-V will be performing at Bold Tendencies until 18 August. Tickets here.

Photo by Stephen Wright

Top photo by Gil Shani

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