Breathless – that’s how I felt after seeing Itzik Galili’s Man of the Hour in an onstage rehearsal run. Visceral, physical, with an intense aesthetic and relentlessly demanding of its performers, Man of the Hour feels like the raw material of our life and time transformed into art. In these days in Israel, it feels very much of the moment. It is a work of contrasts – masculine and feminine, dancers and singers, darkness and light, sex and death, Henry Purcell and beat box – converging, clashing – connecting to something essentially human.
A co-production of the Israeli Opera and the Suzanne Dellal Centre with the Festival of The Netherlands and the Belgrade Festival, Man of the Hour is a work for 8 male dancers and 2 sopranos, and will premiere at the Israeli Opera on December 2, 2015, as the opening event of International Exposure in Dance 2015.
Extremes meet on the stage, defining one another as they defy one another. The presence of the two women – exquisite creatures of song, their movements refined, accentuates the otherness of the dancers with their bare torsos and muscular thighs; heightening one’s awareness of feminine and masculine as physical, visual, and conceptual entities. Dark and light dance together in this piece. The dark lets us understand the light, the light reveals the dance, directs the gaze. Light comes to the viewer from hidden places, and the light enhances one’s sense of the dark. In one segment the dancers move placing small lights in the curve of the knee, the bend of the waist, behind the head glowing like a halo or crown, enclosed within the palm of a hand.
The musicality of this work is inscribed in every movement, music is the very breath of this piece, and breath becomes music. Henry Purcell and Handel share the stage with live beat box and body percussion. Elegance and experience, aesthetics and ambiguity, tenderness and tension. The dancers move at an almost punishing pace, image follows image and the tension mounts as the music swells. Man of the Hour is a work full of longing, but it is a longing that does not find fulfillment. There are moments of poignant beauty, where the gaze longs to linger, but it is a beauty imbued with the will to self-destruct – and that is where one feels a tremor of recognition.
Performances: December 2 & 3, 2015 at 20:00 at the Israeli Opera. Tickets range from 149 – 299 NIS and may be ordered online via this link, or call: 03-6927777.