Suddenly We Were All Alone

Suddenly We Were All Alone/Photo: Asaf Eini

Suddenly We Were All Alone, created by Noa Shadur for the Inbal Theatre Dance Company, is an eloquent abstraction, a visually compelling, tightly constructed work whose movement evokes reflection on relationships between people, and between people and place. In a time when dance performances incorporate text, video, and other elements of different disciplines, this work stands out in its reliance on movement to carry the brunt of its expression, and in the coherence of movement, music, set, and costumes in evoking mood and associations.

The opening image is stark: a white floor backed by a white wall, with a smaller triangle of wall at the side. Yet it is replete with possibility, like a white page, or a blank canvas. In this space, two dancers stand, one in pale cream and pink, facing the audience, the other, closer, with her back to the audience, in a bright orange tunic, introducing the warm palette of colors that compose the costumes. The dancer in orange begins to move, a barely perceptible sway, weight shifted from one side to another, complemented by the low hum of the soundtrack, her movement grows and intensifies. As the other dancer begins to move, and other dancers emerge, each distinct in his or her own physicality. Each dancer, or groupings of dancers move with their own individual gestures and movement, yet eventually, they all cluster in the corner created by the two walls. Another dancer appears, a man wearing a white shirt and dark trousers, reminiscent of the clothing of an Ultra-Orthodox Jew. He walks along the wall, leaning on it, then moves out into the open space, exploring.

The other dancers, have become a group, by virtue of their placement in the corner. Their bodies touch, hands reaching out, in a slow tangle of bodies they move out from the corner, a beautiful human calligraphy on the white wall. What is this wall? Is it a barrier, holding them in, or keeping others out? Is it an obstacle to be overcome? Or is it a defining framework, a place of safety, a home. There is something tender in the way the dancers connect and touch as they clamber over one another, reaching around, over, and behind the lone male dancer who stands at the wall. When they reach the edge, the movement changes: it is the man who walks back towards the corner, supported by the shifting bodies of the other dancers.

The focal point shifts from the wall to the open space, and back again. There are sequences of unison, and individual departures. Certain gestures recur, arms slicing horizontally through the air, hands clasped in prayer, fingers pointed like a gun. At one point, the dancers converge in a circle, with steps recalling folk dances, to a trance-like soundtrack.  A people coming together, and coming apart, looking for signs, symbols, meaning. A tender evocation of interdependence, a celebration of diversity, it is a beautiful work that opens questions rather than answers. And suddenly, one is all alone.

Suddenly We Were All Alone

Choreography: Noa Shadur; Rehearsal manager: Dalia Haimovsky/Inbar Nemirovsky; Production: Hila Jamili; Lighting design: Yoav Barel; Music: Shahar Amarillio; Stage manager: Michal Ben Basat; Technical manager: Asaf Ashkenazi; Costume design: Kim Teitelbaum/Hamutal Tsiolkovsky; Graphic design: Inbal Zovlesky; Dancers: Chen Nadler, Gal Gorfong, Shane Eliot Scopatz, Ofri Mantell, Almog Kidron, Shmulik Halfon, Ido Grinberg, Ya’ara Nabati, Irit Brunner Kopejka.