Two room Apartment 370.
(photo credit: Gadi Dagon)
A quarter of a century ago, two young dancers, trained at Kibbutz Ga’aton,
revolutionized the contemporary dance scene with their Two Room Apartment,
staged in the Shades of Dance framework, aimed at exposing new
Nir Ben-Gal and Liant Dror were the first choreographers to
present a full evening work – short pieces were the norm – the first to rely on
unison, repetitive, energetic actions, European- style, using everyday gestures
and steps, while questioning old-fashioned gender roles.
Being there in
1987, I noticed the stunned audience, who realized that the Israeli fringe
reached altogether a new plateau. Furthermore, it was the first Israeli
choreography to win first prize at the prestigious Bagnolet international
competition, which opened doors for a whole generation of Israeli dance
Currently, most effort, particularly among younger
choreographers, is invested in catching up with the latest trends, with little
regard to earlier works, their style and concepts.
Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor, working together closely for years, took an
unprecedented step with their choice to resurrect Two Room Apartment, a
milestone originated by another couple of creators.
Digging in the past
paid off handsomely.
With Gal and Dror’s consent, they molded the
materials to reflect their own relationships, and bridged the passage of time
through their own prism.
Both works take place on metaphorically divided
space, with each partner measuring its perimeters with long, decisive steps,
perfectly synced, executing a repetitive series of gestures and motions,
deriving from everyday actions like brushing the hair or pushing up the
But the current Two Room Apartment
reconstruction, made by
older, more seasoned artists, contained more emotionally detailed complexity.
Sheinfeld adds frustration as he takes on house chores, while Laor parades his
large frame, chin up. Perhaps the most touching scene is when the head taller
Laor, in his birthday suit, takes a series of jumps into the arms of Sheinfeld,
who hugs him like an oversize baby, while Laor almost melts in his arms. It was
a moment of great intimacy without a trace of eroticism.
The new work is
powerful and relevant. As performers, they bring on stage authentic life
experience, deep reflections and sensitive conclusions, which was a pleasure to
watch. It took more than paint and brushes, but they renovated the Two Room
Apartment into a gem.