‘BLACKOUT’ by Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company..
(photo credit: URI NEVON)
Choreographer Rami Be’er, the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s artistic director, has a soft spot for the poet Yehuda Amichai, and this is not the first time Be’er has employed recitation of Amichai’s lyrics to underline his thematic intent.
Loosely translated, the poem Lullaby speaks to a child and says: sleep, sleep, daddy gone to work, daddy gone to war, yet, sleep....
Sing of horrific events in a sweet voice, plague, sword and hunger may have soothing rhythms.
Be’er did manage, through some well-built sections, to convey a dark, ominous mood, relying on a layered sound collage that mixed Bach and various contemporary composers, devised in collaboration with leading sound designer Alex Claude, his long-time artistic partner.
There is no question that Be’er is skilled, experienced and has terrific eye for composing large group sequences, as well as a particular knack for duets and more so for trios, and he proved it with the first scene, with dancers slowly crawling on the floor, like creatures flexing their bodies after hibernation.
At one point he moved away from the forlorn mood and introduced a humorous male trio, a very welcome change, reminiscent of an old, piquant piece of Be’er’s danced by three men on stools, playing with green fruits.
A duo of lovable angels with white wigs and wings led a dressy parade, adding a touch of heavenly bliss, sweetly reminding the inevitable death brought by wars, a subtle element which popped up repeatedly, through fists and military salutes.
On the downside, the abstract pink chalk graffiti, done throughout the piece by Renana Randy on cluttered wall panels in the corner, was rather esoteric and capricious in the context of the work, judging by the action and final product. Its direct reference by association to Naharin’s Virus didn’t contribute much either.
Even with its line of good dancers and high visual values, the work lost its momentum and real passion all too early.