Be Like Water, 2012

Be Like Water, 2012 Performance

This piece began with Patel wanting to recreate a scene from a kung fu movie that he loves. He knew it would be performative but without knowing whether it would become a video or live piece.

It became both: a video installation, The First Dance and also a live work Be Like Water.

Be Like Water became a meeting place for Patel’s live and video practice which features in the show, and like TEN, has been developed for the theatre.

But after TEN, Patel knew he didn’t want to speak on stage in his own voice. To repeat this would have felt too comfortable. Instead he would speak in Chinese or use subtitles.

It started as a solo piece, but through a chance experiment with dancer Shelley Maxwell, things changed and Patel became interested in asking a female performer to be his translator, avatar, or somewhere in between.

Be Like Water premiered at Linbury Studio Theatre at Royal Opera House, London
27 Nov 2012 | 7.45pm
28 Nov 2012 | 7.45pm

Be Like Water, 2012

Artwork Details

  • Medium

    Live Performance

  • Duration

    50 Minutes, no interval

  • Year



  • Concept, text and choreography

    Hetain Patel

  • Performers

    Hetain Patel & Yuyu Rau

  • Digital Artist

    Barret Hodgson

  • Music

    Ling Peng

  • Light Design

    Jackie Schmesh

  • Dramaturgy

    Michael Pinchbeck & Eva Martinez

  • Moving Image Advisor

    Lucy Cash

  • Additional choreographic input

    Shelley Maxwell, Susanna Recchia, Aurea Romero, Sarita Piotrowski

  • Producer

    Gwen Van Spijk

  • Development

    Co-commissioned by Royal Opera House (ROH2), London, Dance4 and New Art Exchange, Nottingham. Development supported by Broadway Media Centre, Lakeside Arts Centre and Hatch, Nottingham, and South East Dance, Brighton