Michael Getman’s new piece ‘Sounds Like Yourself’.
(photo credit: EYAL LANDSMAN)
Shortly before the turn of the 20th century, during the 730 days that he was incarcerated in a British prison for indecency, Oscar Wilde spent countless hours writing. He put his pen to paper and purged himself of thoughts of injustice, hypocrisy, love, remorse and frustration. Plucked out of society just as his words had come to achieve great fame, his play The Importance of Being Earnest was in the midst of its stage run as Wilde ruminated on prison life. During that time he produced De Profundis, a long letter about the monotony of the daily routine behind bars. He also wrote countless letters to Lord Alfred Douglas, his lover and companion.
This prose was some of Wilde’s last, as he died in 1900 at age 46, just a few years after being released from prison.
For his new work Sounds Like Yourself, choreographer Michael Getman delved into Wilde’s letters from prison. Created for Yoram Karmi’s Fresco Dance Company, the piece tracks emotions from thoughts to writing and finally to movement. This new evening will premiere unofficially later this month at the Suzanne Dellal Center. The true premiere will take place in March and will include performances throughout Israel.
Getman, 38, is the first outside choreographer to create work for Fresco in the company’s 13-year existence. The Holon-based company, established by Yoram Karmi in 2002, has become known for its distinctive esthetic. Drawing heavily on classical ballet movements, Karmi has crafted dozens of works, such as Cerberus, Sour Sweets, Particle Accelerator and the children’s performances Dorothy, Around the World and The Jungle Book.
Born and raised in Israel, Getman studied dance at the Bat-Dor Dance School before joining Batsheva Dance Company. From Tel Aviv, he relocated to Freiburg, Germany, where he performed in Amanda Miller’s Pretty Ugly Ballet Freiburg. In Europe, he worked with several leading choreographers such as William Forsythe, Marguerite Donlon and Orjan Andersson. In 2005, Getman returned to Israel. He has quietly and meticulously developed his choreographic voice in the years since, creating works for companies and festivals in Israel and abroad.
In 2013, Getman and Karmi had the chance to work together under the umbrella of the Ministry of Culture and Sports’ Curtain Up Dance Festival. Karmi was a co-artistic director, and Getman a commissioned choreographer.
Getman’s style left its mark on Karmi, so much so that when Karmi thought of outside voices to incorporate into the Fresco esthetic, Getman was his first choice.
The meeting has brought out new sides of both Getman and the company. While Getman hails from the contemporary milieu, the Fresco dancers are more accustomed to neo-classical vocabulary. As such, the first chunk of their work time in the studio was spent getting to know one another’s abilities and limitations.
Once on the same page, Getman was able to push the dancers to explore new movement qualities and nuances. Using his source materials – Wilde’s letters, as well as love letters passed between Henry Miller and Anais Nin – Getman and the dancers investigated strained forms of closeness. The result is a refreshing look for Fresco, one that allows the skilled dancers to shine in a new light.‘Sounds Like Yourself’ will be performed at the Suzanne Dellal Center on February 27, March 4 & 5 and April 13. For more information, visit www.fresco.org.il.