two dudes dancing .
(photo credit: Gadi Dagon)
In the many depictions of childhood trauma, one room seems to appear over and
over. This space, while seemingly harmless enough, has left its mark on the
nightmares of days past for countless children and grown-ups alike. Why is it
that the gym is such a terrifying arena? Is it the horrible uniform, too seldom
washed, or the painful ritual of choosing teams that leaves a scar on almost
every student who’s ever been picked last?
In their newest work, Alehoum (Gang
Up), choreographers Abigail Rubin and Yoav Bartel invite their audience into
that emotionally charged space. Set in an actual gym, the premiere of this piece
will take place at the Ironi Dalet High School in Tel Aviv later this
During the creation process for this piece, Rubin and Bartel drew
inspiration from Michael Hanecke’s disturbing film Funny Games
. The movie is
about the take-over of an Austrian family’s lake house by two devious and cruel
teenagers. A harrowing depiction of youthful sadism, Funny Games reminded Rubin
of certain traumatic moments in her own youth.
Rubin, along with Ran
Brown and Moshe Avshalom Shechter, dances the full-length piece. The work is
site-specific, meaning that the gym plays a seminal role in the work. The three
dancers are clad in traditional uniforms and interact not only with each other
but also with the many props that inhabit the space.
Audience members are
invited to sit wherever they like in the room, such as on the pummel horse or
the gym mats.
Bartel and Rubin have been a team for several years both in
and out of the studio. Bartel’s background is in dance and theater. In addition,
he is an advisor for television programs such as A Star Is Born
. For the
production of Alehoum
, Bartel has taken on the role of dramaturge, a growing
trend for dance pieces.
Rubin’s training was predominantly in the dance
field. She began her career as a dancer in Ido Tadmor’s company and then went on
to develop her skills as a choreographer. In 2004 she was awarded the Best New
Artist prize from the Ministry of Culture and Sports.
The two seem to
have found a happy balance in their working life together and between dance and
theater. Last year, they premiered the one-man show Hamarkid
, written together
and performed by Bartel. Their poignant and insightful piece received the
prestigious Kipod Hazahav prize in 2010 in three different categories. Though
the work had a strong physical element, it was received as a theater piece. In
Bartel has taken a step into the wings, leaving the stage to Rubin and
Judging from their previous works, Alehoum
leave the audience members with quite a bit to think about after they exit the
gym and return to their adult lives.
Alehoum will run at the Ironi Dalet
High School, 74 Weizman Street, Tel Aviv, on October 28 at 2:30 p.m. and on
October 29 at 9 p.m. For more information, visit www.tixwise.co.il