Ruth Ziv-Eyal has resurfaced after long hiatus to introduce her latest work, Rujum. The name refers to a pile of stones nomads used as road signs in their travels. The dance depicts a female’s journey from one rujum to the next, crossing a river on her way.
Once a leading avant-garde independent choreographer, who helped to establish the Israeli fringe scene in the mid-Seventies and Eighties, Eyal later became mainly a popular dance theater teacher, with only rare stage productions.
Rujum, like some of her earlier works, relies on the one hand on specific subtext, a story which sets the mood, and on the other on props that give the performer something solid to hang on to and play with. In fact all stage actions related exclusively to concrete objects on stage.
In this case the stage is set with two rujums, and three stepping stones between them. A semi-transparent wooden structure mid-stage served as an ex-territorial space surrounded by bamboo screens, to which the dancer – the lovely Yael Turjeman – retired between scenes, to relax, change outfits and assess the audience. How it fit in with the new-age spirit of the performance remained and enigma to the very simplistic water ceremonial at the end.
The carefully designed set and props by artist Avishai Eyal, and the music, costumes and lighting arrangements, indicate finesse and good taste, as did the elegant movement of Turjeman.
Even though the work itself was well intended (but oh, so slow), it lacked inner intensity to compensate, as for example in the best of Butoh.
Unfortunately, the action itself seemed so outdated, slow, devoid of passion. The intended poetic spirituality suffered from snail-pace rhythms.
Eyal’s movement theater came across as archaeological research, meticulous and slow, but with only few slivers of actual discoveries.