Created specifically for and performed at the sculpture gallery of Tel Aviv Museum, Wallflower by Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Polak is a surprising, even mind-shakingly delightful achievement.
Pinto and Polak have worked and cooperated with Japanese theaters in the past, and traces of Japanese art could be seen in previous works of theirs. This time, however, the work is accompanied live by three well-known Japanese composers who set the mood in the introductory scene.
The white, square stage is set at the corner of the gallery and the audience is seated accordingly. Center stage is a corner of two white walls, which changes the way the dancers use the space, and the choreography. In fact, the walls are the set for, partners in and the main props of the work, as dancers lean, slide or jump on them parkour- style, at various angles.
But the most intriguing element of the composition are the 10 dancers, wrapped in colorful hand-knitted and sculptured outfits, like an other-wordly layer of highly textured skin. Contrary to their previous productions, known for detailed theatrical environments with sets and other objects laying out the basic thematic narrative, this time, both creators opted for bare space, where movement is the content, and within those constrains, their uniquely originality shines even brighter.
It takes a few minutes before you realize that the dancers are using a new, systematic dance language, where prevailing western body perception becomes obsolete, replaced by different set of rules. They move as if their bodies constantly need to relocate their centers, causing them to move into intriguing off-balance positions from which they exit in most creative manner. This unusual perception of the dancing body brings to mind the aesthetic of Japanese anime and manga.
Throughout most of the work, the choreographers encapsulated an engrossing mini-universe that at times took the breath away with an abundance of unexpected compositions, often endearingly poetic and richly detailed elements, elevating their craft to new heights.