Back to the circus

For choreographer Yasmeen Godder, being able to laugh at herself and others is an integral part of her latest work.

See Her Change dance 370 (photo credit: Tamar Lamm)
See Her Change dance 370
(photo credit: Tamar Lamm)
‘The truth is that it’s a kind of circus act,” said choreographer Yasmeen Godder of the title of her newest creation, See Her Change . “It’s the name of a show in which a woman changes, usually to a gorilla, and [which] takes place at cheap circuses. That’s the context of the name of the piece, but obviously I don’t change into a gorilla on stage.”
The evening-length piece is the newest addition to Godder’s impressive repertory, which includes works such as Strawberry Cream , Gunpowder, I’m Mean, I Am and Singular Sensation .
See Her Change is a co-production with Montpellier Danse Festival and the Opera Estate Festival Veneto at Bassano Del Grappa in Italy and will enjoy its Israeli pre- mier this week at the Suzanne Dellal Center.
Godder, together with partner Itzik Giuli, have maintained a presence as a singular voice in the landscape of Israeli dance for over a decade. Godder’s harsh physicality and strong emotional content on stage have set her apart from many of her contemporaries.
The couple’s aesthetic, which favors deconstruction over the long lines of pointed toes and pirouettes, has created a sub-genre in the international dance community, inspiring hordes of choreographers to forgo beauty in favor of poignant honesty. As a performer, Godder is able to strike a perfect balance between fearless aggression and ladylike poise.
Though the name for this new work is taken from an illusion, it could also serve quite well as a title for the past two years of Godder’s life. A new mother, Godder returned to the studio to begin working on See Her Change one year ago. Despite all of her experience and hours spent in the studio, she discovered that returning to the drawing board after such a milestone was not without its challenges.
“It took me a year to make this piece. I always had long processes, like six months.
But this took me more because my time is very different now. Now there is something else that is really big in my life. The work is taking place in the studio only, when I go home I’m a mom so my process changed a lot. It’s not one thing that continues all the time. Its more chopped up. It gives me a lot of focus,” she explained.
The piece is a trio, which will be danced by Godder and her longtime collaborators Dalia Chaimsky and Shuli Enosh. Both dancers have been with Godder through many creations and have traveled the world as participants in her performances, however, neither has ever shared the stage with her.
“It’s very different to work with them together,” said Godder. “We’ve worked together for a long time but not on the same stage. I felt that they had each gotten to a certain place in my work where I could put myself on stage with them. I was interested in the differences between us in age and life experience. It’s my first piece as a mom and I’m forty. The experience of the body and my self-perception has changed. I was interested in taking the differences in identity between us and checking them on stage. I looked for the places where one meets the other or becomes confused with the other.”
Humor plays a major role in See Her Change , though that may not be immediately apparent to the audience. “I wanted to ask the question of what is self-humor. What is the ability to laugh at myself, personally and in the work with others? How can I laugh at my self-identity, image, history and femininity while also being a performer, which is a person who has to provide something on stage for the audience? Where can I use my body to laugh at myself, and when do I need to take it seriously? That’s the heart of this work,” said Godder.See Her Change will run at the Suzanne Dellal Center on April 22 and 23 and at the Diver Festival on May 16. For more information, visit