Life as seen through 'Tennis'

In her attempt to stay in balance, Shavit tirelessly and obsessively performs a series of movements, bringing herself to the point of utter exhaustion.

By ORI J. LENKINSKI
January 10, 2018 21:54
2 minute read.
Noa Shavit performs in "Tennis"

Noa Shavit performs in "Tennis" . (photo credit: EFRAT MAZOR)

There are days when it feels like one is being constantly bombarded with obstacles.

Be they small challenges or large, there are days when even the simplest task can become a major feat. Choreographer Nimrod Freed of Tami Dance Company sees these difficult days as a type of tennis match, one in which balls are hurled all over the court and the player can only try to hit them all away. In his newest work, Tennis, Freed draws a parallel between the everyday life of Israeli citizens and tennis players.

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This week, Freed will host the first of two events in which he will present different versions of Tennis, each of which will also include a guest performance by another choreographer.

The first event will boast Tennis, performed by the formidable Noa Shavit. In her attempt to stay in balance, Shavit tirelessly and obsessively performs a series of movements, bringing herself to the point of utter exhaustion.

Her plight, which begins as a nearly comedic endeavor and transitions into a relatable and poignant exercise in futility, reflects a reality in which Freed sees the individual as being the victim of a broader, indecipherable system.

“The tennis game and the tennis player’s obsessive struggle for a victory as a metaphor for our survival here and now: to attack/ to defend, to embrace/to part, to lose/to win: from the personal and intimate to the social and political,” writes Freed of the solo.

Joining Shavit on the stage of south Tel Aviv’s Tmuna Theater will be Anat Grigorio in the solo work Mr. Nice Guy. The juxtaposition of these two solos will make for an intriguing evening of strong female performance.

Grigorio premiered Mr. Nice Guy in 2013 and has performed the piece around the world since.

Accompanied by a persistent and often pestering male voice-over, a fur coat-clad Grigorio struts onto the stage atop black stiletto heels.

In the ensuing 45 minutes, Grigorio complies with and rebels against the voice. The piece was her response to the many influences in her life, the requests of different choreographers to move this way or that, the jeers and taunts of men in the street to smile, as well as Grigorio’s inner monologue.

Freed’s second event will take place in mid-February and will showcase the entirety of Tennis True Story. Built as an episodic creation, the full expression of Tennis True Story connects three solos.

Performed by Noa Shavit, Asami Ida and Itzik Gabay. Each performer tells his or her own story and finally, the three intertwine, trapped on the same court, forced to interact with one another.

Joining them in the evening will be Andrea Costanzo Martini’s SCARABEO, Angles and the Void. Premiered as part of the 2016 Curtain Up Festival, this duet brings two unusual characters to the stage. Martini and dancer Avidan Ben-Giat skitter about the stage in an almost cartoon-like way. Their bodies appear boneless as they quiver, fall, twitch and pounce through the space. Their frenzied state runs the gamut from funny to disturbing in this deeply aesthetic and intense work.

Nimrod Freed/Tami Dance Company will present Tennis and Mr. Nice Guy on January 12 and Tennis True Story with SCARABEO, Angles and the Void on February 22.

Both performances will take place at Tmuna Theater. For more information, visit www.tmu-na.org.il.


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