It was an enchanting experience at Sadler’s Wells watching Puz/zle choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Cherkaoui is one of the most prolific contemporary dancers/choreographers today who has created groundbreaking works of critical acclaim like Sutra, zero degree and most recently, TeZukA. Composed with 11 outstanding dancers from his Eastman company, Puz/zle is his most contemporary work. Puz/zle “questions the seeming importance of order and linearity, and explores if there is more than one way of solving a puzzle, telling a tale and simply living”.
The chirping of crickets and stones on the stage create the perfect environment and invite curiosity in the mind of the audience as they settle in and listen to the stories from the stones.
The dream sequence like video projection of endless rooms recedes to allow the dancers dressed in black, who moving busily like ants, appear from nowhere only to hurl themselves repeatedly against the door. The ants then make their way through stones, crawling up the stairs created, falling down but getting up again and in the process moving from disorder to linear discipline, from chaos to control.
The stones are the defining elements in this choreography.The stones make the walls move around the dancers, creating a constant churning of space enabling them to explore what is possible with their bodies.
Through the choreography Cherkaoui tries to discover new ways of engaging groups and natural leadership. On stage the dancers are continuously losing and discovering information. When a character finds something everyone follows, until another character finds something new for the group to switch and follow the new discovery. This process of progression through interconnected discoveries continues endlessly, possibly questioning linear thought and problem solving methods.
We see the very busy dancers on stage for almost 2 hours, painting the stage with different pictures with smooth flowing movements.
The musicians – The drums, the flute, the enchanting Lebanese voice, take the choreography to a higher plane. Corsican polyphonic group A Filetta, Lebanese singer Fadia Tomb E-Hage and Japanese musician Kazunari Abe create the perfect backdrop to Cherkaoui’s choreography.
Cherkaoui’s concepts are realised beautifully by the ensemble of talented dancers and superb musicians, keeping the audience entertained while at the same time questioning status quo thoughts in their minds.