Take your imagination on a scavenger hunt with Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak’s new work Toros, which will premiere on December 8, 2010 at Nahmani Hall in Tel Aviv. The evening’s program will include two works: Toros and Ma’atzama by Talia Beck. Venturing out of their familiar venue to explore new terrain in a historic building, the two artistic directors/choreographers bring forth an entire world on the stage: collaborating on choreography, costumes, set, and soundtrack. Complete in themselves, Pinto-Pollak works do not offer explanations or maps, but rather work through association, each element in the performance is like a clue in a scavenger hunt that can be collected, savored, deciphered, and connected to other clues to create your own journey through the work.
The poster for Toros is suggestive – showing a matador with the head of a bull, in a stylish pose, complete with elaborately curved horns and a blue bird tied to his finger with a string. Somewhat art-deco in style, with a muted palette of browns and gray-blue, the images inspire a sense of far-away times and places. While the juxtaposition of bull and matador suggests, at the very least, some internal conflict, we are solidly grounded in fantasy, whether dark or delightful.
Pinto and Pollak shared with the press a first look at brief scenes from Toros. The first scene begins with two dancers (Noga Harmelin and Shay Haramaty) at the far back of the stage engaged in an ongoing, perhaps even slightly mechanical process, working with and on one another – connected, intertwined, and intent on their task, while two other dancers (Einat Betsalel and Ariadna Montfort Soriano) lie face down on the opposite corner, close to the audience. Harmelin and Haramaty soon literally pull Betsalel into their dance, with Montfort Soriano waking into movement in an intriguing quartet that reveals the talents of these four dancers.
When they shut down, the stage is open for some other, very different characters. Head back, limbs languorously stretched out while he slumbers, Lazaro Godoy gets up to play with his two strange pets – Yuka Seike slithering away and Zvi Fishzon loyally by his side in a cardboard doghouse. Swift movement and broad humor characterize this brief interval – revealing another aspect of Toros.
How these worlds come together and the relationships between them are a mystery – the kind of mystery that is pleasurable even when you can’t figure out all the answers.
A first glimmer of Talia Beck’s Ma’atzama accompanied the 2009 Curtain Up performance of Pinto-Pollak’s Trout. The then 10 minute solo performed by Shir Medvetsky has since developed into a completed work. A dancer in the Inbal Pinto Avshalom Pollak Dance Company, Beck’s debut as a choreographer was with Saudade in Spring 2009. Ma’atzama means sovereign state or empire in Hebrew, and relates also to otzma, which means power.
The opening image shows an empire of one: a woman seated at a desk, illuminated by a small lamp and her own inner force. Sewing, creating, engaging her environment, with emotional intensity and idiosyncratic humor – leaving the viewer with a sense of surprises laying in wait.
Nahmani Hall, where the performance will take place is experiencing an awakening of sorts – with the Chelouche Gallery’s new cultural complex and Tola’at Sfarim bookstore/café just around a twisty corner or two. Currently the venue of the Itim Ensemble, Nahmani Hall once the home of the Cameri Theatre.
The process of seeking out alternative spaces for creating and performing began for Pinto and Pollak with their work on Trout. One of the advantages of Nahmani Hall for the choreographers is that it is a theatre, rather than a studio, which means that rehearsals take place in the same space as the performance, eliminating the need for a translation from studio to stage. The theatre is intimate yet spacious, and immersed in atmosphere. Pinto says of working in Nahmani, “There is something alive in this space. It has a sense of nostalgia, I don’t have personal memories of it, but I feel the history of the place, even in the watermarks on the curtain that seals off the unused balcony…We’ve been interested in alternative spaces ever since creating Trout in a brewery [in Stavanger, Norway] we have been looking for those walls that speak.”
Toros by Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak
Performers: Einat Betsalel, Zvi Fishzon, Lazaro Godoy, Shay Haramaty, Noga Harmelin, Ariadna Montfort Soriano, Yuka Seike
Ma’atzama by Talia Beck
Performed by Shir Medvetsky
New Performance Dates & Venue: March 12, 2011 at 19:00 & 21:00, Suzanne Dellal Centre,
8 Yehieli Street, Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv. Tickets: 03-5105656