Body language

In her latest work, ‘Red Fields,’ choreographer Sharon Vazanna searches for freedom through movement.

July 2, 2012 21:03
4 minute read.

RAVID ABRABANEL 370. (photo credit: Gadi Dagon)

Choreographer Sharon Vazanna is wise well beyond her years. At 30, Vazanna boasts a kind of clarity most of her peers find deeply elusive. This week, she will unveil her newest solo, Red Fields, at the Intimadance Festival at Tmuna Theater. The work, according to Vazanna, is a portrait of a woman in society.

In the past two years, Vazanna has presented two solos in Israel, as both creator and performer. With an enviable resume behind her, Vazanna is a deft and powerful dancer. After seven years abroad, she returned to Israel and was immediately incorporated into the Israeli Opera’s The Project. Though she is arguably in her prime, Vazanna opted to stay firmly seated in her director’s chair for Red Fields, relying on dancer Ravid Abrabanel to execute her vision.

“I came to a point where I realized that in order to continue to develop my language, I needed to be in dialogue with another person. That choice proved itself to be right. Ravid and I really identified with each other. In this way, I feel that I didn’t go far away from myself,” she explained.

The piece currently stands at 10 minutes in length, a short time considering the number of hours spent refining and polishing Vazanna’s inspiration. However, watching Vazanna work in the days leading up to her premier, there was a sense that she could go on tweaking and perfecting the piece forever.

“When you look over your shoulder,” she instructed a sweaty, post-rehearsal Abrabanel, “I want to see your ambivalence.”

On her second try, Abrabanel managed to capture the essence Vazanna was aiming for and the two quickly moved on to the following section.

Though short, Red Fields spares nothing when it comes to effort. With the hearty tones of Verdi’s Nabucco and Ernani supporting her, Abrabanel dramatically ties her hair back, preparing herself for the events to come. She scans the room, as would a cocktail- dress-clad hostess at a fancy soiree. She attempts to retain composure in spite of what seems to be her desire to implode.

After a short pause, she gives in, leaping through the space with abandon. She twirls and tumbles with full force, revealing strength of will that is captivating. By the end of the piece, she is exhausted, spinning herself into a pool on the floor.

“The tiredness is not out of context here,” Vazanna congratulated Abrabanel. “Your struggle is real and there is something very right about it.”

VAZANNA’S AIM with Red Fields is to investigate the conflict between how we allow ourselves to behave at home or alone versus the façade we put on for certain social situations.

“This piece is drawn from my personal experience at social settings like meeting my boyfriend’s parents for the first time or going to a party. It also has to do with my experience on stage, which condenses this need for acceptance and the feeling of being watched, though that wasn’t the source. For me, there is a strong tension between projecting a certain type of woman and not feeling like that woman inside. Like maybe I want to do something crazy but I don’t let myself. I believe this feeling is universal, if I can say that,” said Vazanna.

While there is nudity in the piece, for Vazanna, sexuality was a byproduct of a search for something natural and innate.

“We were looking at how we hold our bodies in social encounters and realized that it affects our muscles and our breath. For me,” explained Vazanna, “the tongue and the pelvis reveal instinct. So we took the tongue out of the mouth and it immediately is read as sexual. When we move our pelvis in a certain way it’s sexual, but for me the power of a woman is there.”

As she begins to encounter audiences with this work, Vazanna is aware that the piece may be interpreted as provocative or sexual, but has confidence it won’t be misunderstood.

“My emphasis wasn’t on sexuality, it was on exposure.

I am hoping the audience will see through the sexuality. I trust the audience’s maturity and sensitivity with this piece. To me, it’s about freedom.”

In her search for freedom, Vazanna connects with the theme of the festival.

“We have to forget who we are so that we can remember what we were.”

While she puts the finishing touches on Red Fields, Vazanna is already deeply entrenched in a new creative process on a work that will premier this fall in Tel Aviv. Drawing on the same quest for freedom, Vazanna’s new work with mark a new challenge for the young choreographer... a duet.

Red Fields will run at the Tmuna Theater on July 5 and 8 at 8:00 p.m. and on July 6 at 2:00 p.m.. For more information, visit

Related Content

Sarah Silverman
August 26, 2014
Jewish women take home gold at 2014 Emmys


Cookie Settings