Mixing art, dance and life
The Jasmin Vardimon dance company brings its experimental vibes to Israel for a second time.
‘7734’ Photo: JV Laban
Fifteen years ago, Jasmin Vardimon was a little-known name in the international
A former member of the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance
Company, Vardimon won the British Council’s prestigious On The Way To London
choreography award. In 1997, Vardimon arrived in London as many artists do, with
a vision of cracking the harsh exterior of the big city. And, as most success
stories go, a special combination of timing, luck and a generous helping of
talent propelled Vardimon into London’s cultural center.
her arrival, as a resident artist at Sadler’s Wells, Vardimon first wowed
British audiences with her unique ability to tell stories. She founded her
troupe, now Jasmin Vardimon Company, then called Zbang.
In the years
since her arrival, Vardimon has become one of London’s most beloved
choreographers. Her movement vocabulary and compositional touch have changed the
British dance scene forever, inspiring a sea of emerging choreographers and
The residual effects of her creativity can be seen in the
choreographies of former company members such as Hofesh Shechter. Her troupe
travels extensively throughout the UK and Europe, with occasional jaunts to the
USA and Canada.
Two years ago, Vardimon presented Yesterday, a
celebration of her company’s 10-year anniversary, in Israel. This month, with
her gang of gifted artists behind her, Vardimon will return to Israel with her
newest creation 7734.
The piece will be performed twice at the Tel Aviv
Performing Arts Center.
The creation, which undoubtedly bears the marks
of Vardimon’s handiwork, is an investigation of man’s tendency toward
“‘7734’ is a reflection on the capacity of the human nature to
produce brutality, how it has been presented in history in many different
places, as well as the parallel to brutality, which is man’s powerful urge
toward creativity and art,” explained Vardimon in a recent interview with The
Take a moment to consider the title upside down and you
will get a better idea of where this piece takes place in Vardimon’s vivid
“Many times when I start a creation I start from a
location,” she said. Her past works have swept audiences into a courtroom in
Justitia, a grass knoll in Parks and a hospital in Lullaby. One of the defining
qualities of Vardimon’s stage aesthetic is her use of set and props, creating
scenes that immediately transport the audience to the halls of Vardimon’s inner
mind. In 7734 the stage is covered with heaps and heaps of clothing.
looked for something that would represent the huge amount of people and I
decided to work with clothes. There are different elements in the piece
that reflect and coincide with that decision.”
“I decided to locate the
piece in a place that could look like a concentration camp,” she said. “I grew
up in Israel with people who survived the Holocaust. It was very much about
telling and remembering and I carried that with me through life. In the work I
look at inherited memory and pain, not so much about the Holocaust but at global
In the center of the stage, amid the frayed rags and black
trash bags, stands a large tower. “The tower is there and it’s used as both as a
guard or watchtower, and then it completely changed... to, like, a lifeguard’s
tower. There is something in the piece that is about perspective and the
way that perspective shifts. It’s also about the way that identity and
perspective are linked.”
As with most of Vardimon’s work, 7734 is
interdisciplinary. Text, music, video and lighting elements all help to set the
scene in which Vardimon’s highly physical movement lives.
employs many unison sections, each of her nine performers is presented as an
individual, highlighted by their strengths and charisma. With what appear to be
superhuman skills, Vardimon’s dancers hoist each other into the air, crash to
the floor and tumble with the speed of light.
Abroad, 7734 has been
received warmly. Sold out houses and standing ovations have met Vardimon many
times along her tour route. However, bringing the piece to Israel is both
exciting and a bit unnerving for Vardimon.
“I’m very curious to see what
the reaction will be in Israel,” she said.
With a subject so near to the
locals’ hearts, Vardimon knows that 7734’s impact will be felt
Jasmin Vardimon Company will perform at Tel Aviv Performing Arts
Center on May 24 and 25. For tickets, visit www.israel-opera.co.il.