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Body plus one
By ORI J. LENKINSKI
05/12/2013
Two pieces delve into the way the human form interacts with the world around it.
 
By and large, choreography can be described as the investigation of movement and the body. For some, this means stringing together sequences of movements that are executed by dancers. For others, the form of choreographer functions as a vehicle with which one is able to explore the world.

Because dance and choreography almost always rely on the body as the primary tool for such journeys, all dances are in some way about the meeting of the body with other elements such as other bodies, space, time, society, emotion, science and so on.

In the coming days, two performances will demonstrate such investigation. Last night, as part of the annual International Exposure Festival at the Suzanne Dellal Center, choreographers Yossi Berg and Oded Graf unveiled their newest piece.

Bodyland is about the ways in which society defines our physical form. An all-male cast, comprised of the two choreographers and three dancers hailing from France, Germany and Denmark, dances the piece. Berg and Graf originally created this work as a co-production with DanseHallerne in Copenhagen and have gone on to tour with Bodyland around Europe. They will present Bodyland tonight and tomorrow at the Suzanne Dellal Center.

The piece employs movement, text and props to portray various situations that impact the body throughout life. At times, the dancers are boys in a gym class, bare-chested and wielding jump ropes. At others, they are lithe creatures moving in time with a large silver hand.

Over the past several years, Berg and Graf have become two of the most watched creative forces on the local dance landscape. Their previous works, which include Four Men, Alice, Bach and the Deer, Animal Lost, Black Fairytale and Bloody Disco, have toured extensively, leaving trails of fans in their wake. Their dances are edgy, humorous and very physical.

On Sunday night in Jerusalem, Arkadi Zaides will present Land- Research, an investigation of the connection between the physical body and land or country. On stage, five performers from diverse backgrounds grapple with their desire to change, stay the same and move beyond their upbringing.

In his dances, Zaides attempts to bring together the personal and the political. Over the weekend, Zaides gave a lecture at the Suzanne Dellal Center, which outlined his last four works. The 40-minute encounter depicted Zaides’s goals as an artist. Creating out of a sense of urgency, he strives to shed light on the conflict of the region with the hopes of effecting change. In Quiet, Zaides brought four men to the stage – two Arab and two Israeli.

Against a dazzling backdrop by Klone, the performers attempt to find a common ground.

Land-Research was created in 2012 and has toured throughout Europe and Canada since.

Zaides now presents the piece in Jerusalem before embarking on a new creative journey.

His upcoming piece will continue the thread of what is known as political dance theater, using footage of riots gathered by the B’Tselem organization’s Camera Project.

At the end of the month, Zaides will travel to Toulouse, France, to continue working on this project.

Zaides is also the founder of Moves without Borders, a project dedicated to bringing international artists to Israel.

Last month, he hosted celebrated choreographer Meg Stuart. While in Israel, Stuart taught a threeday workshop and performed an evening of solos at Mahsan 2 in the Jaffa Port. Later this month, Moves without Borders will host Austrian dancer and choreographer Phillipp Gehmacher. The goal behind these visits is to allow for dialogue to occur between foreign dance makers and the local community.

Land-Research will be performed at the new Beit Mazia in Jerusalem. The ticket price is unusually low thanks to support from local groups.

Bodyland will be presented at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv on December 6 and 7. www.suzannedellal.org.il. Land- Research will be performed on December 8 at Beit Mazia.
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