(photo credit: Dee Conway)
When people feel proud, they puff up their chest.
That sounds about
right, no? According to the late choreographer and revolutionary movement
analyst Noa Eshkol, it’s the other way around. A person puffs up his chest and
feels proud as a result of the movement. This theory falls perfectly in line
with Eshkol’s belief that movement evokes emotion, which was the basis for her
life’s work in the dance field. Next weekend, an homage to Eshkol’s work will be
presented in Studio Varda at the Suzanne Dellal Center.
which will be danced by five performers, is comprised of excerpts from Eshkol’s
dance suites. A meeting with the dancers will follow each
The performance will be a cappella, so to speak, as Eshkol
believed that movement alone could touch the audience without the need for
music, props or costumes. Thus the five performers will wear plain black clothes
and will be forced to find rhythms within themselves. It was Eshkol’s belief
that in this way the spectator is afforded the purest experience of
Eshkol was born in Kvutzat Degania B in 1924. She received her
training in Israel and London and went on to found the Noa Eshkol Chamber Group.
Her unconventional approach to dance found expression in choreographies that
were performed around the country by the rotating cast of her company. Eshkol
passed away five years ago, leaving behind a wealth of text and a massive body
of students and admirers. Many choreographers have been influenced by her work.
Today, a number of dance practitioners continue to study and develop the methods
outlined by Eshkol in her movement notation. The performers in this evening are
comprised of longtime members of the Noa Eshkol Chamber Group, as well as
dancers who have joined in the past several years.
Today, if you walk
into a dance company’s studio anywhere in the world, you will most likely find a
video camera. Ask any choreographer, and he or she will tell you that one of the
best ways to capture and preserve movement during a creative process is by
recording it. And while nowadays recording has become easily accessible, such
was not always the case. For decades, dancers and choreographers faced the
challenge of recording their movements in a legible, clear way.
this need, several movement notation methods were developed such as the
Kinetography Laban system and Benesh Movement Notation.
Around the same
time that these methods were being put to the test in Europe and the US, Eshkol
hunkered down in Israel to decipher and map out the exact way that each joint of
the body functions. Unlike her peers, Eshkol’s approach to movement was not
limited to dance or even humans but could also be applied to any type of living
creature. When the Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation was first published in 1958,
it was received with wonderment and awe. Eshkol and Wachman immediately became
recognized as pioneers in the movement notation field.
The Batsheva Dance
Company will present this production.
Among those touched by Eshkol’s
work is legendary choreographer Ohad Naharin. As Naharin wrote in the program of
his most recent work Sadeh21, “It would be true if I wrote that all my pieces
were dedicated to Noa Eshkol.”
Eshkol’s work is currently being featured
in two exhibitions. An exploration of her work is being presented at the Center
for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv. The exhibition includes open classes,
discussions and video excerpts of Eshkol’s company. And the Israel Museum is
showing an exhibition by American artist Sharon Lockhart, which is centered on
Eshkol’s dances.Variations Theme will be presented at Studio Varda on
February 3 at 2:30 p.m. and February 4 at 8 p.m.. For tickets, call (03)