Batsheva Dance Company.
Watching Sharon Eyal's Love is like shaking a snow done. First there is the chaotic blizzard, then organized patterns emerge, and then the flakes come to rest and only a quiet scene remains.
Performances of this stark and unsettling piece marked the first time that Eyal's work has been presented outside of Israel, where she is well known as a dancer and choreographer. Less than a year ago, this protegee and muse of Ohad Naharin was named associate artistic director of Batsheva Dance Company. Love is an evening length work, though it appeared here in a shortened version, where it was the perfect companion to Naharin's more varied and joyous Deca Dance.
Naharin's preference for reconfiguring bits of his vast repertoire into a perpetually transmuting vaudeville is irrefutable--audiences are won over quickly and leave wanting more. Here, he included most of his austere Black Mille, a powerful quartet based on Paul Celan's holocaust poem, "Deathfugue." Naharin makes his impact using straight-to-the-heart music and spine-tingling unison phrases from his reckless dancers.
Eyal prefers to show them as conflicted, if not isolated, individuals. With a red floor, a stage stripped of curtains, and all 14 dancer dressed in Dalia Lider's simple black turtleneck shirts and trunks, Love is without doubt mole Bauhaus than baroque. There were no props or sets, and within the first five minutes Eyal had offered all of her emphatic movement vocabulary in a series of complicated cascades from the full ensemble (which included herself) huddled upstage. Each dancer delivered a lengthy episode characterized by flailing arms, a supple spine and contracting torso, and strong, turned-out legs. It was chaos and spectacle at once, and soloist Noa Zouk stood in the midst of it in a wide, parallel
second position, thrusting her pelvis repeatedly with a despondent expression on her face. Aggressive gestures invaded Love like curious punctuation, suggesting that those who enter the arena of love are doomed to frustration.
Eyal's dense choreography recalls Cunningham's chance methods, Karole Armitage's sexual aggression, and aspects of Naharin's blissful body politics. In the end, Love is original and bleak, a playground where nobody smiles but nobody wants to leave the game, either.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
www jacobspillow.org www.isradcentersf.org (click on "culture")
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|Date:||Dec 1, 2004|
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