Simple Dance: Disquiet

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Inbal Dance Company – Simple Dance/Photo: Ayelet Dekel

Something unexpected and wonderful greeted visitors to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art last Friday, March 31, 2017: The Inbal Dance Company performed choreographer Mor Shani’s Disquiet, the first part in a trilogy of durational pieces created for the museum: Simple Dance – Three Suggestions for Dealing with Time.

The dance is a reflection on folklore, as stated in the program notes: “a request to imagine together the folklore of the future.” The question of folklore and folk dance is anything but simple these days, burdened with the weight of nationalism and propaganda on one hand, and on the other, under threat of extinction due to globalization. In the context of the performance, the focus was on movement and relationships – between the 9 dancers, as well as between the dancers and the audience. The performance began with the most minimal moves. Those museum visitors who had arrived to look at the exhibitions or attend a lecture, might at first be unaware that a performance is taking place, as both dancers and museum visitors traversed the entrance hall.

Simple Dance at the Tel Aviv Museum/Photo: Ayelet Dekel

There is a structure and choreography to the dance, which took place, uninterrupted, over the course of four hours in the spaces of the museum. Yet this structure is one that offers the possibility of improvisation and interaction with others. The responses of museum visitors become part of the dance, whatever the response may be. A few were intent on their own path, seemingly oblivious to the movement around them; many became active audience members, standing or sitting on the cheerful red-checked cloths set out on the floor and watching the show; others realized that they were silently being invited to join in – and they did!

The dance contained elements of a wide spectrum of popular, folk, and concert dance – ballet, Israeli folk dance, swing, Irish Step Dance, tap, flamenco – each form appearing and disappearing, merging into the next. The different forms and traditions of dance were the raw material out of which this moving, colorful, creation emerged.

Dancing without music, no sound except the ambient sounds of the museum and the body’s own percussion – breathing, or at times stamping or tapping, it was an exhilarating, beautiful performance: the body as a source of pleasure. It was also very much about “being with” – a heightened awareness of the other, and of one’s own body and movement in the space. Despite the large, public space, the dancers created a feeling of intimacy and community in the intensity of their rapport and gaze.

The offer of movement can come in many forms, it can be a suggestion, communication, invitation, inspiration, or a challenge; the response, as well, may vary. While this was not a work with a narrative arc, many micro-narratives develop throughout the work and are fascinating to behold. In one segment, a male dancer approached different dancers and museum visitors in turn, jumping high very close to them, within that invisible circle known as personal space. Some chose to watch, some to jump with him, and in the final movement of this sequence, another dancer offered an entirely different alternative, lifting him up, and holding him there, where he wanted to be, up in the air.

Inbal Dance Company – Simple Dance/Photo: Ayelet Dekel

The trilogy will continue at the museum on the following dates: Gravity and Grace on Friday, April 21st and It Will End in Tears on Friday, May 26th. The performance runs from 10:00 – 14:00, and is free with museum admission.

Simple Dance

Three Suggestions for Dealing with Time: Disquiet

Choreography: Mor Shani; Company Director: Dalia Chaimsky; Rehearsal Directors: Dalia Chaimsky, Inbar Nemirovsky; Inbal Dance Company: Hen Nadler, Ofri Lehmann-Mantell, Almog Kidron, Irit Brunner, Ya’ara Nabati, Gal Gorfung, Shmuel Halfon, Shane Scopatz, Ido Grinberg; Producer: Yuval Vizel; General Manager & Artistic Director: Eldad Grupy.