Choreographer Inbal Pinto debuts first duet at Suzanne Dellal Center

Moran Muller and Itamar Serussi Sahar in the tender and nostalgic piece.

 INBAL PINTO’S ‘Living Room.’ (photo credit: DANIEL CHICHIK)
INBAL PINTO’S ‘Living Room.’
(photo credit: DANIEL CHICHIK)

Since the beginning of her formidable career, Inbal Pinto has never choreographed a duet. The world of her creations was always one inhabited by multiple individuals. There were solos and duets in her works, namely the delightful bench duet in Wrapped, however, they were always part of a bigger story involving other characters. This weekend, Pinto will present her first foray into a more sparsely populated world entitled Living Room. The work was made at the invitation of the Suzanne Dellal Center, the first such work commissioned by the center’s new CEO Anat Fischer-Leventon and artistic director Naomi Perlov.

Fans will recognize the sharp features of Moran Muller, who starred in Pinto and Etgar Keret’s Outside, a dance film that responded to the anxieties of reentering the world following the coronavirus lockdowns. And perhaps Muller draws a line between these two works as she was the catalyst for Living Room.

“If there wasn’t Moran,” says Pinto over the phone, “I wouldn’t have made the piece.” It is midday and Pinto has contacted me to make sure this sentiment was communicated in our conversation the day before. It was, but she wanted to be certain to emphasize the importance of the two dancers’ contribution to this work. “Moran has a range that inspires me. It is broad, interesting and versatile. She has such a huge palette that I could give myself over to it.”

On stage, Muller is joined by Itamar Serussi Sahar, who recently returned from a long period in Europe. “I heard he was back in Israel and called him right away. In order to make a piece like this, you need very sophisticated dancers. Both of them became a home for my creation,” explains Pinto. She admits that her favorite moments in the piece are those in which she can see that the dancers have made the choreography theirs.

Inbal Pinto’s latest creation is ‘Fugue’ (credit: ROTEM MIZRAHI)Inbal Pinto’s latest creation is ‘Fugue’ (credit: ROTEM MIZRAHI)

The world the two inhabit is delineated by a large painting, done by Pinto. “I did millions of versions before deciding which one was exactly right,” she adds. The music for this piece was composed by cellist and singer Maya Belsitzman, who collaborated previously with Pinto on Fugue. The painting, music, costumes and characters, as in all of Pinto’s works, bring to life an alternate galaxy, one that is tender and nostalgic, painfully sharp and light as a feather at once. “The meaning of choreography isn’t building movement,” she says, “it is creating the universe that it exists in. The creation makes a dialogue and it speaks to you, it reveals itself to you. Those are wonderful moments.”

Following this weekend’s performances, Pinto will travel to Switzerland, where she is staging a version of Fugue. Then, in 2022, she will direct, design and choreograph Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at the Israeli Opera.

Living Room will be performed at the Suzanne Dellal Center on November 12, 13 and 14. For more information, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il.