Up to the challenge

An all-night dance-a-thon invites audiences to go the distance.

Trans.parent 311 (photo credit: Omri Barel)
Trans.parent 311
(photo credit: Omri Barel)
‘I could have danced all night, I could have danced all night, and still have begged for more,” sings Liza Dolittle in the classic musical My Fair Lady. Driven by romance and perhaps some fine wine, Liza’s words, though sweet, are most likely an exaggeration. Would she really have wanted to dance all night? The answer is probably no. Like most physical pastimes, dancing is wonderful for an hour of two, maybe four, but as any all-night dance-a-thon participant will tell you, prolonged dancing is quite the challenge.
This is exactly what choreographers Maya Levi, Anando Mars, Iris Marko and costume designer Barak Aviam Ish-Shalom have set out to test. In their new collaborative work Trans.parent A Long Distance Dance, which premieres next week and will run once a week during the month of January, audiences are invited to come and go as they please over the course of a full night. The performance will go on until the last spectator goes home. A coffee shop and seating area will be at the crowd’s disposal.
The unconventional nature of this work began with the creative process. “The process is actually the piece,” explains Marko. “My three colleagues and I decided to make a piece with different methods. It has to do with the movement language, the approach and the style. Instead of working three times a week for three to four hours, we decided to meet once a week for 24 hours. From Friday to Saturday.”
Working out of Studio Artness on Kibbutz Ein Shemer, the collaborators and their group of performers were free to do whatever they liked through the wee hours of the night.
“We thought that that way, people would have to deal with all kinds of elements – tiredness, food and being together for so long. The moment we put ourselves together for 24 hours, we had to find a mechanism that worked for the 12 people present. Through this work we looked for movement, using improvisation, missions, tasks to do it. And we found all kinds of things. We couldn’t separate our lives from our work. We couldn’t leave it outside. Everything came into the process,” says Marko.
“The piece is a reflection of this experiment. It was a laboratory. It reveals the new language that we found. The issues that we are dealing with are the deep understanding of each dancer or performer. The audience will get to see the good and bad about each one of us. To see how they deal with their family, their dreams, their passions,” she says. In addition to the four creators of the piece, a cast of dancers and DJs took part in this experiment. Finding cast members who would be willing to endure the many ups and downs of this project was a feat for Marko and friends.
“We had auditions where we told people that this was what we were going to do. It took us five or six meetings to understand whom we were working with. The fact that people wanted to work in this way didn’t mean that they were immediately ready to do it. When they arrived, they realized that it was much more difficult than they thought,” explains Marko.
During the many hours of the piece, the DJ, namely music master and Kol Hacampus star Ori Bankhalter, will be in charge of the overall ambience in the room.
“Ori was a major part of the process,” says Marko. “DJs are like gods sometimes. They can change the entire mood. Ori has his own style, his own taste and his own take on what the piece needs at any given moment. He’s very important to us.”
For Marko, who is now eight months pregnant, this process has been both challenging and informative. “We worked a lot with the idea of family,” she says. “We are in the business of making art. We are trying to continue to make art in a way that is connected to the place that we are in. I won’t ignore that I’m eight months pregnant. They [Levi and Mars, who are life partners] can’t ignore that they have twins at home. What that brings into the studio is very connected to that. The piece is also a kind of child to us. We are four parents. I feel like I’m about to give birth to this piece.”
Trans.parent will premiere on January 4 at Studio Artness on Kibbutz Ein Shemer and will continue on January 12, 19 and 26 at 8:30 p.m. until the next morning. For tickets, call 077-504-0082. Tickets cost NIS 100. Seating is limited.