For most couples, living and working together would present an insurmountable challenge. Yet this intensity only seems to deepen creative and domestic team Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar’s connection.
“We work together, but we aren’t working with the same instrument. We aren’t two carpenters sitting at the same bench. We complete each other,” says Behar.
“It helps that Gai is the most patient man I’ve ever met,” Eyal chimes in.
“And that Rona is the most amazing woman I’ve ever known,” Behar adds.
Next week, Eyal and Behar’s L-E-V will present Killer Pig at Reading 3 in the Tel Aviv Port. The piece, which was created in 2009 for Norwegian dance company Carte Blanche, has never been shown in Israel.
Almost a decade ago Eyal, Behar and musician and DJ Ori Lichtik officially became a creative team.
Together, the three devised the jaw-dropping Bertolina for the Batsheva Dance Company. At the time, every element of the work, from the graphic costumes to the undulating electronic score to the repetitive movement, was unprecedented. It was clear to the three artists, as well as to the thousands of audience members that took in Bertolina, that this meeting of minds had fostered a once-in-a-lifetime click.
“Ori brings magic to the work,” says Eyal. “We are a team. He’s very close to us. We are connected in taste and aesthetic. He’s a phenomenon because he creates something new every time.”
“It’s not just new, it’s innovative,” Behar elaborates.
“Our connection is really extraordinary,” Eyal smiles.
In the years following the premiere of Bertolina, Eyal, Behar and Lichtik created several other works for Batsheva, such as Bill and House. They were also invited to choreograph original works for companies abroad. Killer Pig was the first of these commissions.
“It’s a piece that we really, really love,” says Behar “It’s very close to our hearts. The process was special in part because we were pregnant with our second child at the time.”
A lot has changed for Eyal and Behar since Killer Pig’s premiere.
One major milestone was their departure from the Batsheva Dance Company. After more than two decades and many speculations about an eventual takeover of the celebrated troupe, Eyal and Behar opted to strike out on their own. In 2013, Eyal and Behar established L-E-V, an independent dance company based in Israel. Immediately following the premiere of their first work, Untitled Black, the company was invited to perform around the world.
Having returned two weeks ago from a long jaunt in Europe, L-E-V is busy rehearsing Killer Pig.
“The work has changed a bit,” says Eyal. “Part of the life of any piece is its changes. That said, I’m trying to preserve the original as much as possible, but even small changes can be big.”
Killer Pig, which is performed by six dancers, is perhaps the most classically technical of Eyal’s works.
Sifted in with the jerking, twitchy phrases are elongated balletic leaps and airy twirls.
“I love those movements,” says Eyal. “Killer Pig came out that way because it came out of my body.
My background was in ballet before Batsheva. The material was there in my body, and working with Carte Blanche gave me an opportunity to bring it out.”
This work will showcase a rarely seen side of L-E-V’s brilliant dancers Douglas Letheran, Keren Lurie Pardes, Rebecca Hytting, Tom Wein, Gon Biran and Leo Lerus.
Following this engagement, L-E-V will once again hit the road.
The schedule for the coming months includes stops in Canada, the US and Mexico. Then, in 2015, the company will premiere a new work, which is in pre-production.
“I think that the very exhausting stage of trying to get this company off the ground is over.
Our real challenge now is to preserve the line that we are going in and to continue to fulfill it,” says Behar. “We chose to stage Killer Pig now because felt that this piece was somehow very appropriate to the place that we are in right now.
It’s been very interesting to take something that we created so long ago, in such a different place in our lives, and to put it into the context of where we are now. It’s brought a new air to the work.”
Although their works have a rough, dark edge, it is clear that Eyal and Behar create from a place of deep love.
“Besides my kids and Gai, the thing I love most in the world is dance. It’s in my soul; it’s the thing in my life. I love to dance, to create, to express myself, to give people freedom through what we’re doing. To see things come out and take shape. It’s like a gift in the world,” says Behar.
“I really love it,” says Eyal. “It’s beyond love; I need it.”
“The thing I love most about our work is Sharon,” says Behar. “I really enjoy seeing things I think about, that are in my head or in Sharon’s head, that we talk about between us or with Ori and with the dancers and our lighting designer Bambi (Avi Yona Bueno) become something clear and real.
To see how that wonderful magic happens from something abstract to something that exists.”