Dance review: Diver Festival

Tel Aviv festival, running September, 2-5 started on high note with German choreographer Raimund Hoghe’s 'L’Apres Midi.'

SHAHAR BINYAMINI’S ‘Kulukulupa’ (photo credit: GADI DAGON)
(photo credit: GADI DAGON)
The current edition of Diver Festival started on high note with German choreographer Raimund Hoghe’s L’Apres Midi, which together with two evenings by French choreographer David Wampach is the kind of international, cutting-edge dance so coveted by local audiences.
During the first week of the festival, most of the attention was focused on Hoghe’s L’Apres Midi and the exemplary execution by Emmanuel Eggermont, a longtime collaborator of Hoghe’s. It has taken the physically challenged Hoghe years to gain recognition, and works like L’Apres Midi and Swan Lake tilted the scales in his favor.
L’Apres Midi is a most cohesive piece, enjoying inspired vocabulary based on controlled and detailed syntax, as well as pedantic geomantic forms, with a smattering of gestures recognizable from the original piece by Vaslav Nijinsky, L’Après-midi d’un faune. Those components combined to give the better parts of the piece – particularly its first half – a touching poetic quality.
Fortunately, contrary to his habit Hoghe stepped back, left the stage to Eggermont and took the secondary role, placing and moving two milk glasses around the stage, I believe as an homage to poet Paul Celan’s Death Fugue (black milk).
Another invitee to the festival was May Zarchi, an Israeli choreographer residing abroad who collaborated with musician Michal Oppenheim. Watching them perform Yes on the lower floor of The Tel Aviv Museum of Art it was hard to tell that they came from different disciplines. Zarchi and Oppenheim uttered similar sounds, sang together, and had their close encounters of rolling on the floor, leaning on each other, intertwining their legs and walking on all fours or sliding occasionally on their backs. It was one of those unpretentious, relieving performances where no-one tried to overshadow their partner, and both remained in the safe haven of their comfort zone. In a way, that was their greatest charm, and it produced very pleasing camaraderie act.
Alas, this weekend of Diver Festival ended on a lower note with Space Ballet by Ma’ayan Danoch and Kulukulupa by Shahar Binyamini. The latter took it upon himself to mix materials from Japanese art forms of Noh, Kabuki and Geisha fan dance in order to inquire into a slang expression which means “crazy.” It had few (60-second) promising scenes, set amid too many question marks. The ambitiously named Space Ballet on the other hand, had too few question marks, limiting its inquiry to folding, unfolding and waving plastic sheets.