Cerberus – Yoram Karmi
Written by: Ayelet Dekel
A voyage into the unknown, on the waters of an ancient river, Yoram Karmi’s Cerberus is a work of haunting beauty, a poetic evocation of mortality. It is a dance that takes place between the known and the unknown; drawing on the stories and imagery of Greek mythology to reflect on life, love and death – that other life in the underworld.
Inspired by Greek mythology – their pantheon of Gods with all too human passions and whims, and their approach to death, as yet another chapter in the narrative of life, the overall atmosphere is not one of sorrow and loss. Cerberus is imbued with an aura of mystery, and a sense of discovery.
The work is not a re-telling of a story or cluster of stories, nor is it an illustration of myth, but rather an entity in itself. Taking its name from Cerberus, the many-headed dog guarding the gates of the Underworld, this work dances with the stories of Greek mythology, creating a dialogue of images, movement, emotions and associations.
As the curtain opens, a creature with a canine-like visage transports his passengers through the darkness, and we are transported along with his somnolent freight into a fantastic world. The amazing raft repeats its journey two more times, depositing the bodies on this dark shore. They drift away, as if moving on the water, the mythical creature remains: three strange and mysterious heads atop three spectacular figures moving as one, turning on an invisible pedestal, an awe-inspiring vision that holds the viewer in thrall.
The invisible pedestal is a square platform operated via remote (one assumes). It is one of the most creative props I have encountered; with an impressive aesthetic integrity that situates it as an inseparable element of the choreography. Karmi uses the platform in several different ways, giving the work a unique perspective on movement. In one sequence two dancers are poised on the platform, frozen in a running position as the platform turns – a study in contradictions, moving yet immobile, their destiny controlled by an unseen force.
The dancers of the Fresco Dance Company are simply wonderful! The creature Cerberus – all of them – is powerful and menacing, yet tender and sensual. In this, as in other aspects of the work, Karmi chooses wisely an allusive, rather than literal interpretation, and the movements reflect a canine energy, with moments of humor in the sideways glance, without direct mimicry. There are several exquisite duets, moving solos, and beautiful ensemble work – all with an ethereal, elegiac quality. All the different elements – Cerberus masks, music, costumes, set design and lighting – merge to create a world of fantasy that takes the viewer on a captivating journey of the imagination.
Cerberus by Yoram Karmi premiered at the Suzanne Dellal Centre as part of the Summerdance 2012 Festival.
Choreography by Yoram Karmi; Original Music by Alberto Shwartz; Costumes by Aviad Herman; Lighting Design by Yaakov Baresi; Masks by Ron Glait.