Dance challenge: don't step on anyone's head [pg. 24]

Noa Dar Dance Group Tetris November 16 As the slithering body of the dancer coiled inches way from my head, I could smell his sweaty clothes and hear him breath. All around me, 60 or 70 other spectators' heads poked out from under the raised stage, gazing at each other and the dancers moving around, above and between them. The show is a unique predicament called Tetris. Noa Dar, Tetris' creator, belongs to a group of veteran choreographers who began working in the early Nineties and have survived through hard work and stamina. She's developed a style of her own based mostly on her own idiosyncratic body language and work combining dance and theater. A collaborative dance piece enhanced by the work of visual artist Natty Shamia-Ofer, Tetris is a bold and innovative attempt to challenge the traditional roles of performers and spectators, as well as conventional relationships between a venue's stage and viewing area. It's Dar's first experiment with conceptual dance, and an exciting step forward. Tetris is performed in Dar's Tel Aviv studio, which has been transformed by Shamia-Ofer into an active art installation. The viewers' heads protrude through the stage but are protected from dancers' feet by arched iron bars. The sight of fellow spectators' caged heads on its own was sufficient to provoke reactions ranging from laughter to panic. This new point of view is both a physical and conceptual challenge for Tetris's eight dancers, who are forced to work without a traditional performance space and redefine their interactions with an audience spread at their feet. Unconventional and compelling, Tetris has the potential to be an important piece with lasting impact both in Israel and abroad.