(photo credit: KEREN BARESKI)
For over two decades Liat Dror and Nir Ben-Gal produced a line of works that won them a central position in the blossoming local contemporary dance scene, and the attention of important dance festivals abroad.
Their work was singularly bold and energetic, sometimes violent, while touching on a wide range of social themes, from ground-breaker Two Room Apartment through the explosive Inta Omri, based on Arabic cultural motives, to the highly original dance-event The Dance of Nothing. It seemed that they had deciphered the road to success. But 16 years ago, they turned their back to the Tel Avivian lifestyle, moved to Mitzpe Ramon in the desert, and looked for spiritual, introspective existence at a commune- like site.
Change in current conditions forced them to reinvent themselves, and soon they’ll move to Sderot and become part of Sapir College.
The collapse of Rana Plaza, which killed over 1,100 sweatshop workers three years ago in Bangladesh, moved both choreographers to tackle the multifaceted industry, dealing with exploitation, multinational companies’ cynicism, the fashion industry and its shallowness, and accelerated consumption, which comes with a price tag.
They proved that their social sensitivities are intact, but their choreographic passions seemed a bit rusty, out of touch. Bridging 16 years of performance hiatus needs hard work.
The creation interlaces relative dark, static scenes, based on simulation of confection industry’s gestures, with freestyle rhythmic dance moves.
Described by Dror and Ben-Gal as “Choreography Documentary,” it partially worked in the first scenes, where dancers surrounded by boxes mimicked in detail and essence slaving workers operating imaginary machinery, or depicting the shallow life of fashion models.
Yet tumbling, weightless cardboard pyramids, pointing to the disaster, could hardly achieve the desired effect. Neither did some dancers seem to have the basic requisite experience, letting two or three of the finer dancers carry the load.
Hopefully, this talented pair, once reintegrated, will inspire once more.