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'1mm Au Dessus Du Sol', Breakin' Convention: Presents Yaman Okur - Sadler's Wells

1mm Au Dessus Du Sol (translating to 1mm Above the Ground), choreographed by Yaman Okur and Sébastien Lefrançois, combines a Jean-Philippe Collard-Neven score, breakdancing, and various everyday objects to tell the story of a man constantly trying to push his limits. Though the combination of these different genres is hardly novel, they are conveyed with a certain bravery in 1mm Au Dessus Du Sol, resulting in an undoubtedly unique experience.

©Jean-Philippe Collard-Neven

Okur trained in ballet and contemporary at the International Academy of Dance in Paris, and has worked in companies such as Trafic de Styles and Wanted Posse. While Okur’s primary dancing style today stems from street dance—breaking in particular—his strong classical background beautifully complements this unique style. There was a sense of lightness and plasticity throughout the piece, making many of the basic breaking movements appear near-effortless. Okur’s interaction with props was perhaps the most memorable aspect of the show—baskets, a telephone and a skating ramp, to name a few. One can only wonder what few limits Okur’s body might hold.

Characterised by expressive piano sounds, Collard-Neven’s composition and performance sought to guide Okur’s movements, controlling the emotion conveyed on stage. But Collard-Neven’s role went beyond that of a pianist—he took centre stage to act, to narrate, and to influence Okur’s character; for instance, he brought numerous white baskets onto the stage to prompt an interaction. Though odd at times, this constant exploration of artists’ relationships on stage gave the piece an appealing unpredictability.

Though this synthesis of movement and music seemed organic, the accompanying storyline felt somewhat detached from the more physical elements conveyed to the public. The varying performance mediums introduced by both artists never left the stage empty, but they were overwhelming at times. This drew one’s attention to every movement and sound, so as not to miss anything, and yet, it was difficult to understand the meaning in its entirety.

1mm Au Dessus De Sol is a creation for those interested in artists that are willing to experiment and look for unconventional forms in dance. Although its rather intricate storyline was sometimes lost in the abundance of action on stage, this collaboration between two very talented artists is a brave and entirely thought-provoking piece of art.

Edited by Alexia McDonald, Digital Editor

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