ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

21/03/2019 - 24/03/2019

Auckland Arts Festival 2019

Production Details


On the edge of oblivion, a company of incredible dancers hurl themselves into a spectacular freefall.

This is revolutionary choreographer Hofesh Shechter’s vision of a society on the brink of collapse: a bizarre, beautiful abyss bristling with anarchic energy and violent comedy.

Part dance, part theatre, part intoxicating gig, Grand Finale brilliantly captures the precariousness of 21st-century living through rapturous live music (composed by Shechter, performed live by an on-stage band) and furiously choreographed movement – a pulsating combination that will leave you breathless.

Performed on a cinematic set designed around transforming monoliths and intense claustrophobic spaces, and brimming with Shechter’s emotionally electrifying style, this fierce new work is the dance ensemble’s boldest creation yet. Join their apocalyptic revelry in the dance event to end all events.

“A mature and magnificent work… sulphurous, visceral and surprisingly tender”The Stage

Recommended age 13+
Contains smoke effects, very loud music and flashing lights

Produced by Hofesh Shechter Company and commissioned by Georgia Rosengarten

Commissioning Partners: Sadler’s Wells, Théâtre de la Ville-Paris / La Villette-Paris and Brighton Dome and Festival. Co-commissioned by Colours International Dance Festival Stuttgart, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Romaeuropa Festival, Theatre Royal Plymouth and Marche Teatro / Inteatro Festival together with Danse Danse Montréal, HELLERAU – European Center for the Arts Dresden in cooperation with Dresdner Musikfestspiele, Dansens Hus Oslo, Athens and Epidaurus Festival, HOME Manchester and Scène Nationale d’Albi.

Grand Finale is generously supported by the International Music and Arts Foundation.

Hofesh Shechter Company is supported using public funding through Arts Council England. Hofesh Shechter Company benefits from the support of BNP Paribas Foundation for the development of its projects.
Hofesh Shechter OBE is an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells and Hofesh Shechter Company is Resident Company at Brighton Dome.


MAR 2019

Price$49.00 – $89.00
  • Premium89.00
  • A Res69.00
  • A Res Conc63.00
  • B Res59.00
  • B Res Conc53.00
  • C Res49.00
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Hearing loop available2x
School Tickets

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A wild waltz for the end of time … [Grand Finale] ranks among Shechter’s most sophisticated creations

 — The Guardian

Music , Multi-discipline , Dance-theatre , Dance , Contemporary dance ,

1 hr 40 mins

Haunted moments of togetherness and hope

Review by Chloe Klein 22nd Mar 2019

Grand Finale opens with Auckland Arts Festival’s Artistic Director Jonathan Bielski reading a message to New Zealand audiences from choreographer Hofesh Shecter- an offered condolence and sharing of confusion in response to the senseless events that took place in Christchurch last week. An encouragement to greet pain with art, and find expression and resonance in the images and themes of Grand Finale. He reminds us that Grand Finale is an exploration of endings, and his message invites us to treat this work as a welcome, sombre, saddening, hopeful space to think and feel.

When presented with the images of violence, bereavement, and death in the work, it is impossible to not think of Christchurch, and the disruption we are shocked to feel so close to home. However Grand Finale is not depressing, it carries a grim humour and resoluteness that also commits to expressing the wholeness of human relationships and of love, of continuing to move forward, and the resilience we must and do find. This is without nostalgia and does not over simplify human emotions, it is conflicted, and appropriate.

From the opening of the work, the dancers are captivating images, as they meld in and out of groups. Schecter’s vocabulary is unmistakeable, raw, embedded in rich personal depth of impulse, wriggling, bouncing, circling, swooping- a folk-like surrender to passion, immersion in reinvented traditions. The work has a sense of flow, working with momentum, with satisfying contrasts, not to defy nature but be carried by its supernatural directions. Saddeningly whimsical waltzes with corpses, and the gaunt open mouths of those who have passed haunt moments of togetherness and hope.

Guiding the physical structure of the work are tall, roaming, rectangular panels, that float through the haze to divide and unite spaces, shaping new settings. The stage has a dreamlike quality as space and place shift in unpredictable ways I instantly accept, a malleable space that serves its message before rolling into reshaping and resetting. The panels, operated by the performers, impose grand yet ominous and final significance on the space, concealing and recalling people who seem to disappear from the stage as they are passed over. Working alongside these panels is the sharply designed lighting, illuminating foggy haze to create smallness and endlessness. The panels, lighting, and sound complement their shared delivery, carrying us through the arcs of the work.

We are taken through generations by costumes in a neutral palette- the dancers wear vintage trousers and collared button ups, and then after interval, more modern tracksuits and casual wear.

The dancers of Hofesh return me to the pure joy of seeing movement, igniting a resonant sense of how it feels to move, tantalising transience. Each dancer passionately fills to the limits of their skin and further, no portion of energy is withheld from each movement. We have no sense of tiring, except when the movement speaks to weariness, no sense of saving or self-preservation. In a show of this duration, and with such physically demanding choreography, I am taken by their inexhaustible displays of endurance. As such, each body projects its own uniqueness, as any group of bodies dancing together without limitation cannot be uniform. Instead we find coherent unison that is also stunningly diverse- each body shares origin in the same driving rhythm and is faultlessly in sync with the group.

Live musicians share the stage throughout the work dressed in tuxedos. They appear to inhabit a surreal plane, disappearing and appearing in new places without seeming to move, offering distant, hopeful lullabies, memories of a previous time, continuity, reality. They remind me of the musicians of the Titanic, playing regally as if nothing is wrong in the face of imminent tragedy, and I later read a programme note that names those same musicians as their comparison. During the interval they play to the theatre, encouraging us to join them in percussion, song, whistling, and comedic revelry before returning to the distant plane again.

By the end of the work I feel a deep appreciation for the skill and complexity of weaving Schecter and collaborators have spun to create Grand Finale. The creative mastery of this work opened and filled a space I didn’t know was calling out for attention. I leave feeling contemplative.


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