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Sitting at a coffee shop in Neve Tzedek with Inbal Pinto, Avshalom Pollack and Talia Beck, there was a tangible, familial closeness amongst them. They laughed warmly, finishing each other's sentences.
The union of Pinto and Pollack has produced many things: a family, a dance company and a handful of masterpieces. Their delicate and powerful productions are performed in Israel and around the world.
Last year, the two traveled to Connecticut to set a piece for American dance company Pilobolus. For the first time since its establishment in 1971, Pilobolus opened its doors to an outside choreographer. In collaboration with director Robby Barnett, a new piece, Rushes, was conceived.
Upon returning to Israel, Pinto and Pollack paid this opportunity forward, offering Beck, their long time company member, the chance to be the first person - other than the two of them - to create a work for their Tel Aviv based company.
Gladly taking them up on their proposal, Beck created Saudade.
This week, the Inbal Pinto Dance Company unveils both pieces at the Suzanne Dellal Center.
Beck joined the Company in 2002 and was one of the dancers with the dynamic duo during the initial creative process with Pilobolus. As a dancer, Beck is technically sophisticated and incredibly pleasant to watch. On stage she quickly pulls the eye. In person, she is quietly charismatic.
When Pinto and Pollack first mentioned their plan for Beck as a choreographer, she was surprised. "At first I thought they were joking," Beck said. After countless hours in the studio, learning the ins and outs of Pinto and Pollack's world, Beck saw Saudade as a perfect opportunity to investigate her own choreographic language. "I always say that I have two families. My parents and this one," she explained. The process "is like trying to grow up and define yourself within a strong home."
Saudade is Beck's first major creation, comprised of five women, who have worked with her since last July. While Beck pauses to consider how to describe her style, Pinto eagerly jumped in, "I come in and it's like a new language in the studio."
A defined language is one of the qualities that make Inbal Pinto Dance Company's work stand apart from the herd. Pinto and Pollack's spellbinding pieces (Oyster, Shaker and Hydra) are nothing if not identifiably theirs. As such, their creation process is unlike that of many other companies.
After years spent working with their own dancers, Pinto and Pollack encountered some challenges with Pilobolus. "They work in big chunks and we work in miniatures. That's how we arrive at our chunk. Once we figured this out, it was much easier for them to understand what we wanted," said Pinto, wagging her little finger.
Rushes resulted from this month long process. Now, Pinto and Pollack have translated the fruit of their experience onto their own dancers. "It makes the collaboration more full, bringing it to our dancers. In a way we are taking a piece of Pilobolus with us," said Pollack.
In a celebration of unions, Rushes and Saudade are a testament to great partnerships making for great results.
Rushes and Saudade, two new works by the Inbal Pinto Dance Company, premier at the Suzanne Dellal Center on March 11 and 12 at 9 p.m. and March 13 at 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. For tickets call (03) 510-5656, inbalpinto.com