Dance: Free falling

Compania Sharon Fridman performs at the TA Dance Festival

Compania Sharon Fridman (photo credit: IGNACIO URRUTIA)
Compania Sharon Fridman
(photo credit: IGNACIO URRUTIA)
Sharon Fridman does not take movement for granted. Though it is his vehicle and medium, the Israeli-born, Madrid- based choreographer constantly questions the need to dance and its origins. Fridman, 35, is the founder and director of Compania Sharon Fridman, which will perform as part of the Suzanne Dellal Center’s Tel Aviv Dance Festival next week. The evening will consist of two parts: the duet Hasta Donde? (Until Where?) and a new work, Free Fall .
Fridman began his professional life in Israel, dancing with the Ido Tadmor Dance Company, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and Vertigo Dance Company. He was then invited to join Mayumana on an extended European tour. “I left Israel in 2004 when I started to work with Mayumana,” he explains over Skype.
Fridman speaks thoughtfully and warmly about his path out of Israel and into Spain. “I toured with Mayumana for almost three years as the artists’ coordinator. Afterwards, I stayed in Madrid. I was working on a tour, and that’s where I first started making my work,” he says. Having parted ways with Mayumana, Fridman found himself temporarily lost. “Mayumana was a great step for me because it allowed me to be in front of the stage rather than on it. After I left, I stopped dancing for a while. I wasn’t sure why I had to dance and what I brought to dance that others didn’t bring. I was investing time and energy in something without knowing why,” he recounts.
When he returned to the studio, Fridman did so with a new sense of purpose. Together with a handpicked group of dancers, he established his company. Hasta Donde? was created as part of a larger work in 2011. “It is the flagship piece of the company. We’ve done more than 250 shows of Hasta Donde? around the world. The piece is taught in many settings,” he says. The second part of the program, Free Fall , began in 2013.
“We started creation in 2013 and premiered in May of 2014. The first day was actually an incredible day,” Fridman recalls. “I came to the studio with one thing clear in my mind: How can we find the freedom inside being in a knot? How far could I go with the aim of finding more freedom in movement and emotional freedom inside groups with a lot of codes and intense relationships? I assigned a different task to each of the six dancers, without their knowing one another’s tasks. To one I said, ‘You are breathing well only when you see that the group is in movement.’ To another I said, ‘You are breathing well when you see that the group is still.’
They came to the space after running for 10 minutes. I wanted them to get to the task exhausted. They began fighting for their needs. I understood the individual’s fight inside societal codes. I saw the need for each of us to get what we need and to find our personal harmony, and I saw what happened when it was in contrast with another individual. Could we get our freedom and our needs in peace or did it need to be a continual fight?” Though he has presented these works many times before, Fridman feels a fair share of anxiety before each show. “I came to Israel with my company in 2010 with a piece called Shakuf . But I still feel that it’s the first time that I’m coming back with my company. In 2010, I didn’t feel ready. I didn’t feel that I had found myself clearly as I find myself today. I don’t know how to express it, but the process I’m having with myself while I’m presenting my work is very challenging for me. I am always questioning a lot of aspects, and I always feel like a beginner. Each time I have more experience but still I feel like a beginner. I question each step I do, and I’m not always happy with the result. To see a show and say this is exactly what I wanted is what challenges me most,” he says.
Following these performances, Fridman will stay on in Israel as one of the artistic directors of the upcoming Shades of Dance Festival. As the mentor to emerging choreographers, Fridman feels he will be able to share the fruits of his experience. “To me, the way the public sees a piece is very important. I will be working with these artists not only on their compositions but also on how they will present them to an audience. Cultivating young artists is a big part of what I do in my company, and I am looking forward to doing that here,” he says.
Compania Sharon Fridman will perform at the Suzanne Dellal Center on August 14 and 15. For more information, visit