Close quarters

Rachel Erdos presents ‘Castle’ at the Tel Aviv Dance Festival.

Stav Marin and Yoav Grinberg in ‘Castle.’ (photo credit: ZAVIT AHERET)
Stav Marin and Yoav Grinberg in ‘Castle.’
(photo credit: ZAVIT AHERET)
One of the bizarre, complex and wonderful things about city life is proximity.
People live quite literally on top of one another. For some, this element of metropolitan living is distressing, while for others it is a source of endless fascination.
Growing up in a large family home in suburban London, choreographer Rachel Erdos did not hear her neighbors quarrel or sniff the aromas of their dinners.
She did not encounter strangers while looking for her keys and could not imagine what that would be like. However, all these things are now as natural to her as breathing and are a major part of the work she will present at the Suzanne Dellal Center.
Castle will be shown as part of 80 Square, which is a subcategory of the Tel Aviv Dance Festival. The title is a hint at the set-up of these performances, in which 80 audience members sit in the round in the Dellal Center’s Studio A.
“The idea is that you sit close to the performers,” says Erdos. “With my piece, the closer the better.”
Castle takes place in a 2.5x2.5 meter space that is enclosed with fluorescent lights.
“I wanted to make a piece that could be performed anywhere, in a museum, gallery, studio or stage. We can rehearse it anywhere, even in my apartment. This piece comes with its own structure, so it is very portable,” says Erdos.
She laughs that although Castle is easily transported, having to lug around a box of fluorescent lights is a downside of this particular production.
“I think there is something very nice about seeing dance up close. You can see the dancers’ sweat and hear them breathing. It makes for a different feel,” she says.
Erdos first presented Castle in 2011 as a solo as part of an initiative hosted by Hateiva in Jaffa.
In the years following, she set her sights on larger pieces, creating a work for six male dancers for the Curtain Up Festival, as well as several commissions for companies abroad. Then, last year, she was invited by the Machol Shalem Festival to expand the 10-minute piece.
“After working with big groups, it was really wonderful to go back to a smaller cast. I had the ideas for this piece for such a long time, they were boiling over. I found that the process really flowed,” Erdos explains.
Danced by Stav Marin and Yoav Grinberg, Castle is a glimpse into the life of a couple.
“We live in apartments where our neighbors hear everything and see everything in a country that is small and crowded. We created this work during Operation Protective Edge, which influenced our process in many ways,” she says.
During the work, Marin and Grinberg inhabit their tight cube together, experiencing moments of sheer harmony as well as tension and conflict. At times, each dancer attempts to stretch the boundaries, clawing at the illuminated walls for more air.
Their bodies and voices meet, overlap and eventually clash.
“There’s a point in the piece that I really love. Stav and Yoav are talking at the same time, recounting childhood memories of the houses they grew up in, fear of the dark, the rooms they shared with their siblings. Every time we perform, it’s different. They aren’t really listening to each other, but they are feeding off each other’s stories,” she says.
For Erdos, Castle feels very personal.
“I’m not on stage, but I am very present in this work. Where I live, where I am now in life, my hope and dreams of a relationship… it’s all there. There’s a point where Stav makes a list of the necessary elements for a happy life. ‘House, roof, garden, flowers, man, woman,’ she says. I see that part as her dealing with this idea that in order to be happy, you need these things and if you don’t have them, it means that something is wrong. I have that discussion a lot with myself,” she reveals.
Other artists to present work in 80 Square include Sally Anne Friedland, Sharona Florsheim, Dafi Eltabeb and Rali Margalit.
Rachel Erdos will present Castle on July 18 at 9 p.m. at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv. For more information, visit