'The Project' 521.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
It had been two weeks since their last rehearsal, and the dancers of the Tel
Aviv Opera House’s Project seemed slightly tense before starting a run of a new
work by Idan Sharabi. Of course, the dancers had spent those weeks in full-time
rehearsals for the second part of their new program, which will premiere this
week at TAPAC. The evening, which they have been working on for the past several
months, is in two parts.
The first is by Sharabi and the second is
Double/Single by legendary choreographer William Forsythe.
through small sections of his intricate piece, reminding the dancers of minute
changes and details that had been added in their final rehearsals prior to the
“Let’s do it again,” Sharabi says calmly after one of the dancers
missed his entrance. “I know why you were late and it’s fine. I understand. But
if one person is off, we’re all off so let’s go again.”
The next time
they tried the section, everyone made it on time.
The piece begins with
the sound of applause, a clever inception for the audience. The sound structure
of Sharabi’s work plays a major role in the emotional and compositional
development of the piece. It is as if some invisible manic DJ, who can’t decide
what record to put on, is operating the dancers. Splices of classical music, the
theme song from Super Mario Brothers and text flicker on and off.
dancers rush across, on and off the stage in time with what seems like
completely random sounds.
“This is a good run, you guys!” Sharabi said in
the middle of a group section. “I know you think it isn’t, but it really
This is Sharabi’s first major choreographic engagement. Fresh out of
the Batsheva Dance Company, Sharabi has spent the last several years in steady
employment as a dancer. Several of his solos have been seen on local stages
since his return to Israel from The Netherlands a year ago. Last summer he
presented a group piece for several dancers at the Hot Dance Festival at the
Suzanne Dellal Center. Then, several months ago, Mate Moray approached him about
doing a work for The Project.
Until now, The Project has commissioned
works exclusively by European-based artists such as Jacopo Godani, Emmanuel Gat
and Marko Goecke. This is the first time the directors of The Project have
extended a hand to a local choreographer.
To see him interact with his
dancers is to see a young artist at the start of a fruitful
Sharabi’s recent experience as a dancer is an obvious advantage
to him when attempting to extract the best from each member of his cast. He is
without the set systems of operation that an older choreographer uses in the
He was tender, generous and excited as he offered suggestions on
how to improve certain movement qualities.
“Until now we’ve worked with
our heads,” Sharabi said to his cast of 11. “But now we have to work with our
emotions and our minds together.”
Though it is not always clear what the
emotional intention of this piece is, it is apparent that the dancers are deeply
engaged in the creative process.
“This piece is very demanding,” said
dancer Dor Mamalia after the rehearsal was over. “With Idan, every movement has
a reason. I have to do a lot of work for myself to understand how to give all
these movements the meaning that he is looking for.”
One sentence repeats
over and over throughout the 30 minutes of Sharabi’s piece, suggesting that it
is the crux of this work. It is both spoken and recorded: “We may lay it down
that a happy person never fantasizes. Only an unsatisfied one does
The Project will run at TAPAC on October 13 and 14. For tickets,