Dance: Because they love

Tamar Lamm and David Kern perform their latest piece.

December 30, 2016 14:12
4 minute read.
Tamar Lamm and David Kern

Tamar Lamm and David Kern. (photo credit: TAMAR LAMM)

The dance piece Because We Love You is not only Tamar Lamm and David Kern’s first creation together, but it is also a stage reunion after nearly 20 years. The two met in Paris in 1998 at a morning class for professional dancers. Kern approached Lamm to participate in a trio that he was choreographing and dancing in. They spent the next few months in the studio and, at the end of the production, parted ways. Lamm returned to Israel, got married and had three children. Kern relocated to Frankfurt, where he continued to dance for choreographer William Forsythe. But the connection forged during those sessions in Paris proved strong and, after two decades apart, Lamm and Kern found their way back to each other.

“We had no contact for over 16 years,” says Kern.

“I was too embarrassed to call her. And then, two years ago, we got back in touch, and here I am.”

Kern and Lamm sit side by side on the veranda of a café. Lamm translates the menu for Kern, still unable to navigate the Hebrew contents. There is an ease in their togetherness, a quiet union.

Kern, 57, was born in New Orleans. In 1987, he moved to Europe to dance for Forsythe in Ballet Frankfurt and stayed on the continent for 30 years.

“I spent half my life in Europe,” he says.

The move to Israel, while challenging in many ways, suits Kern well.

“The scene here is very nice. People have been great to me,” he says.

Lamm, 44, is an in-demand photographer and dancer. She began her career in New York under the tutelage of Zvi Gotheiner. From there, Lamm moved to Paris, where she worked as a freelancer for two years before returning to Israel. With her tall frame and fiery curls, she immediately caught the eye of local choreographers, such as Yasmeen Godder, with whom she danced for two years before taking a 12-year break from performing.

“I decided to leave dancing to raise my children. I became a photographer around the same time. I struggled for years trying to understand which to be – a photographer or a dancer. It took me years to blend both things,” says Lamm.

In 2012, Lamm realized it was time to return to the stage. At the age of 40, having been away for so long, most dancers would find this a daunting if not impossible task, yet Lamm managed to reenter the scene with grace and ease. She has spent the past four years dancing with choreographers such as Iris Erez, Tamar Borer and Anat Grigorio.

Because We Love You was a six-month process that culminated in a premiere as part of the Arena Dance Festival in Jerusalem. The name was taken from a loving phrase many children hear from their parents.

“It’s a bit ironic because we are subjecting the audience to something a bit uncomfortable, but we can do it ‘because we love you,’” says Kern.

“It gives us the right to do whatever we want in a way,” adds Lamm.

On stage, Lamm and Kern present the audience with a plethora of props. The floor is strewn with objects, all of which find at least one purpose in the hour-long performance. It feels as if the couple were busy with constructing simultaneous homes for themselves on stage and in real life.

“We collected a lot of trash from the streets, and we used that as our props. We had a lot more, but we edited it out,” explains Kern. “We saw a documentary about an alternative lifestyle in America called Freeganism, where people live off found objects. I think in our lives we have this feeling that we can buy ourselves out of problems. Like, if I need a light, I go buy one.”

A few examples are fluorescent yellow jars, umbrella frames and snow confetti.

“We knew we wanted to make this piece, so we had to get back into shape. So we got a gym membership,” says Lamm. “We found those yellow protein jars outside of the gym. It was this moment of excitement, that everything could happen.”

The umbrella frames become orchid stems, which a kimono-clad Lamm arranges carefully in a synthetic bouquet. The snow, which was gathered by sweeping the street, falls slowly on the two at the close of the piece, a poignant and surprising finale.

Throughout the piece, the two clearly explain to the audience what they are doing. They sing, dress up, undress, talk and move. In all this action, they are honest about their desires and craft, their relationship and the challenges that face them, about who they are.

‘Because We Love You’ will take place on January 5 at 9 p.m. at the Inbal Dance Theater in Tel Aviv. For more information, visit show.php?id=3260.

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