Four dancers took a flying leap from the Bat Sheva Dance Company into the dizzy space of dance start-ups, and have landed on their feet as Maria Kong – a new contemporary dance company on the Israeli scene. With their premiere performance “fling” coming up September 8 – 10th at the Nahmani Theatre, a coterie of curious journalists visited their studio in the eclectic Montefiore neighborhood of Tel Aviv.
The two “Marias” – Talia Landau and Yaara Moses, and the two “Kongs” – Anderson Brass and Leo Lerus, work and create together as dancers and choreographers. Their close rapport is evident on and off-stage, the connection and communication between them forms the core of their first work “fling”. With three main characters, Federico, Gomiez and Angelica, “fling” is a work of the emotions and relationships. The short segment performed against the white-washed brick of the studio creates a sense of anticipation in its taut balance of forces between the dancers, the intensity of their relationship to one another and the space.
A diverse group with the common bond (and intense work ethic) of Bat Sheva, Leo hails from Guadalupe, and Anderson from Brazil, while Talia and Yaara are both native Israelis. Although English is their conversational medium, dance is their first language. They are careful not to reveal too much about the characters in “fling”, as Talia said, “In order to expand your options and what we [the dancers] can experience through your objectivity.” She did add that the inspiration for the names finds its source in the cultural backgrounds of the dancers and expresses elements of the characters of the dancers.
The upcoming performance is very much a collaborative group effort that will include the talents of several artists: Ori Ben Shabbat has created visual elements to interact with the choreography, Miki Avni designed the costumes, Felice Ross designed the lighting, Tal Ben-Ari both arranged and composed music, with Niv Hadas consulting and Ariel Tagar editing the music.
The excited foursome admitted to feeling a bit wary of journalists. Leo said, “This is the first time so many ears are listening to me at once. What we are doing is important to us.” Continuing his train of thought, Talia emphasized the importance of communication to the group, saying, “This piece works through people and we don’t normally know journalists.” If this first encounter is any indication, this is just the first of many conversations with the media. To quote Maria Kong’s Managing Director, Zohar Eshel-Acco, “It’s not a fling.”
Image credit: Arale
September 8 – 10 Nahmani Theatre
4 Nahmani Street, Tel Aviv