The perks of being a wallflower

A new dance piece leaps off the stage to occupy a museum space.

Wallflower. (photo credit: ASSAF ASHKENAZI)
(photo credit: ASSAF ASHKENAZI)
If I had to think of a pair of choreographers whose work would easily translate into an art gallery space, it would be Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollack. More than perhaps any of their local contemporaries, Pinto and Pollack are able to depict alternate universes using just the bodies of their dancers. Their crystal clear aesthetic, which includes movement, sets, costumes, musicality and props, is so near to visual art, it is difficult to draw the line between where one ends and the other begins. On Tuesday night their company premiered Wallflower, their first foray into the museum space.
Housed in the sculpture gallery of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Wallflower brings together the talented dancers of the company with Japanese musicians Umitaro Abe, Mayu Gonto and Hirofumi Nakamura. Until recently, the two elements of music and dance were developed separately. Then, at the beginning of July, Abe, Gonto and Nakamura arrived in Tel Aviv to merge the artistic processes. All told, Wallflower includes 13 different but in-tune performers.
Unlike many similar dance initiatives, Wallflower does not interact with an exhibition. Rather, it takes the place of the art within the vast space. To the white walls of the gallery, Pinto and Pollack added geometrical black areas.
The stark palette evokes thoughts of blending in versus standing out, falling perfectly in line with the title of the piece. The dancers flock in and out of the center of the space, at times as a steadfast pack of creatures, while at others as whimsical, lone passers-by.
To this piece, Pinto and Pollack brought their signature intricacies. Small gestures are woven together to create meaningful statements. Quirkiness and grace exchange vows with one another as the piece progresses through group sections and smaller, more intimate moments.
Pinto and Pollack had dreamt of creating such a work for a long time. Last year, the two were invited to Japan to direct The Cat Who Lived a Million Times. It was during that production that they met the three musicians. By the end of the project, all five artists were committed to creating a new work together, one that would challenge each of them to go beyond their comfort zone in order to discover new ways of moving, playing or vocalizing.
Back in Israel, Pinto and Pollack met with the directors of the Tel Aviv Museum, who quickly got on board.
The final, magical element came by way of Joann Tivoli, whose lighting design not only illuminated the happenings of Wallflower but also became a character in itself.
With this project, Pinto and Pollack have officially joined the throng of choreographers fleeing from the proscenium stage to the openness of the art gallery. In Israel alone, this trend has caught on like wildfire. In June, Yasmeen Godder unveiled Climax, a choreography for six dancers at the Petah Tikva Museum of Art.
Wallflower is the newest of several dance programs presented this season by the Tel Aviv Museum, which already included the Kontrapunkt series curated by Lior Avizoor.
Wallflower will be presented on July 18, 19, 21 and 22 at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. For more information, visit