Dance Review: The Project

A dozen Israeli dancers perform three works by leading European choreographers.

The Project 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
The Project 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The initiative of the Israeli Opera and Suzanne Dellal Center finally came to fruition under the directorship of two of the most powerful people in the field – Yair Vardi of Suzanne Dellal and Hanna Munitz, director of the Israeli Opera.
Under the unassuming title of The Project lies a more ambitious intent to reestablish a repertory company, a format that disappeared from our landscape 20 years ago, the day the reins of the Batsheva Dance Company were handed over to Ohad Naharin and the company became identified with its choreographer.
For all intents and purposes, The Project serves as a pilot and, as such, the program indicates its intent to import works by rather successful creators and enrich the viewers’ experience, while enabling good, solid dancers to remain and pursue a career in this country.
Since keeping a repertory company afloat calls for large budgets, such a company tends to play it safe. So did The Project, presenting three creations of pure dance rather than more controversial expressions such as conceptual or cutting-edge dance.
The evening opened with Through the Center (2007) by Emanuel Gat, who lives in France. The abstract work evolves and constantly changes like energetic flow in mesmerizing loops of various particles torn between contradicting forces – regimented unity and chaotic individuality, themes that Gat grappled with shortly before he moved abroad four years ago.
The second piece, Light Years (2010) by Jacopo Godani, evoked flavors of the early days of William Forsyth – the man who revolutionized contemporary dance more than two decades ago. It seems that Godani has a good memory; he even dressed his dancers in black see-through net tops, as in the original. The Project’s dancers stood up pretty well to the technical efforts demanded by the energetic choreography, which blends fire and ice, liquid and steel in hot supple bodies that could freeze in an instant.
Marco Goecke’s Supernova was the surprise of the evening. Dancers pranced around in short, quick steps with bent knees in a metaphorical bubble of absurdity in which different modes of movements are required. Goecke managed, with originality, a good sense of humor and deep understanding of his craft, to create fresh and satisfying dance work.