(photo credit: Courtesy)
It's not every dance that can boast 10 years of consistently packed concerts. But Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak's Oyster is one of these rare, beloved works. Having surpassed the 400th performance mark earlier this year, Oyster is now celebrating its tenth anniversary with performances by the Inbal Pinto Dance Company at the Suzanne Dellal Center.
Pinto and Pollak are consummate explorers of the imagination, tracing the glimmer of a new idea into the unknown and then bringing it to life onstage. Magicians in their use of stagecraft and costuming, the couple combines movement, music and visual design to build their invented worlds. It's this creation of an alternative reality far from our own which lends all of their dances, including Oyster, a special timelessness.
What makes Oyster so uniquely appealing though, is its endearing characters and carnivalesque atmosphere. An extra-tall two-headed man, a leggy redheaded ballerina with a stool attached to her behind and a squat older figure serve as guides to a series of surreal sideshows.
Typical circus attractions like contortionists and strong women are joined here by more unusual creatures: women with their hands and feet connected by red rods, tuxedoed armless men and a pair of tutu-clad women scuttling crab-like across the floor. Some scenes are humorous, others sweetly touching. Each is a surprise, a delight, a shiny new pearl inside a shell.
Besides Oyster, Pinto and Pollak's Shaker will also be featured this month at the Suzanne Dellal Center. Shaker transports the viewer under the glass dome of a snow globe. This make-believe world is populated by another cast of eccentric characters whose sweeping movements create swirling patterns in the carpet of snowflakes. A more recent production, Shaker too has deservedly attracted an enthusiastic following with its striking visual spectacle.
Oyster is performed today, Friday, at 2 p.m. and again at 9. Shaker takes the stage on June 26 at 2 and 9 and, again the following day, at 9 p.m. All shows are at the Suzanne Dellal Center, (03) 510-5656, for NIS 110-149.
The writer is a dance scholar and founder of danceinisrael.com