A world of clouds

“We spoke a long time ago about having Andrea do his own shows in the frame of the company and also doing something with the dancers,” explains Pollak.

AN INCREDIBLY unique meeting of artists (photo credit: AVSHALOM POLLAK)
AN INCREDIBLY unique meeting of artists
(photo credit: AVSHALOM POLLAK)
Most artistic creations are the works of teams. Whether an equal collaboration between partners or a group or an ensemble supporting one person’s vision, art is usually the product of synergy. Behind the performance Antu, which will premiere next week at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv, is an incredibly unique meeting of artists, a rare and almost impossible coming-together of creative minds serving a common goal. At the helm of the project are Avshalom Pollak, dancer and choreographer Andrea Costanzo Martini, and author Dorit Rabinyan. Together with them on the journey, bringing their vision to life, are 12 additional artists of the Avshalom Pollak Dance Company.
Many will recognize Martini from either his time in the company or as a poster-person for Super-Pharm’s ad campaigns for the past many years. In both these endeavors, he worked closely with Pollak. Beyond his work with the company, Martini cultivated a name as an independent choreographer, and has been presenting work around the world consistently for the past several years. His aesthetic is reminiscent of Pollak (and Pinto’s) works, with his own idiosyncrasies spicing up an exuberant and dynamic movement language. And so, Pollak’s choice to invite Martini to create for the company is not surprising, but rather fitting and welcomed.
“We spoke a long time ago about having Andrea do his own shows in the frame of the company and also doing something with the dancers,” explains Pollak, following a rehearsal of Antu. Sitting in the company’s break room in eastern Tel Aviv, Pollak shuts his computer to consider how the process came to be. “At the same time as Andrea and I were speaking, I was talking to Dorit, whose book A Cloud Named Renana will come out this summer. I thought, ‘Why not integrate these things?’ In the beginning, I imagined a double or triple bill, but then it seemed like it would be interesting to try to crack this process together.”
In Antu, Rabinyan’s writing comes to life. It is the soundtrack, motor and foundation for the work. “It was my first time dealing with a book,” says Martini. “I have never worked with something existing as a starting point before.”
“I have worked with text and stories before,” chimes in Pollak. “The challenge for us was how not to do a description of the story. We wanted to find the identity of the world we were creating and how to keep the integrity of the story and storytelling with that. In order not to narrate, we created the role of a narrator.” This role will be played by Yossi Pollak, father of Avshalom.
“What the text really gave us were ideas about how to speak about movement, about what dancers can do that is so special. They have the ability to become something else constantly. They can tune into something new every moment, change their entire physicality to match it, and a second later, to completely let it go,” adds Martini.
A big part of the world they created is connected to clouds, which stems from Rabinyan’s short story. “When kids look at clouds, they see shapes. They cloud’s physicality allows for that. The cloud really is a metaphor for this piece,” Martini says.
As they get ready for the premiere, Pollak and Martini turn to an unusual audience for feedback: children. “The initial idea was to make this into a children’s piece,” says Martini.
“Sitting in the subconscious of the piece is always children, even if the piece isn’t suitable for them. We are bringing kids into the studio to be our outside eyes, to see what works for them and what doesn’t,” explains Pollak.
“Children don’t buy things that don’t work. The structure is less important to them than the message,” says Martini.
Fans of Pollak’s previous works will recognize familiar elements in Antu, such as the ever-ticking clock and technological devices of the past.
“It’s a bizarre world,” says Martini, who divulges that he will also have a cameo in the work. “It’s at once very technological and completely natural.”
Antu will be performed at the Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theater Yehieli St. 5, Tel Aviv, on July 11 and 12. For more information, visit avshalompollak.com or call 03-510-0793.