Dance Review: Sharon Fridman Company

‘All Ways’ (Spain) Suzanne Dellal Center, Tel Aviv August 13

THE SHARON FRIDMAN Company performs ‘All Ways.’  (photo credit: IGNACIO URRUTIA)
THE SHARON FRIDMAN Company performs ‘All Ways.’
(photo credit: IGNACIO URRUTIA)
Two tiny lights zoom in and out, marking arbitrary trails high up on stage. Soon, more lights join in, leaving a profusion of paths’ traces on the memory. Pale light reveals running dancers crisscrossing the stage, resulting in an intriguing and symbolic prologue for “All Ways,” a creation by Sharon Fridman, an Israeli-dancer based in Madrid.
Fridman’s works, highly physical, are based on a contact improvisation technique. This particular creation took him deep into spiritual moods, where his dancers are expected to go through various phases in search for utopian harmony. 
The name of the piece indicates its thematic direction. It is about a search for redemption and self-acceptance, preferably in the company of fellow travelers, during which they will experience, writes the choreographer, “…the sense of being suspended in the unfathomable nothingness.”
Even if the New Age lingo and the text – which talks about the cosmos, stars and nomadic search of harmony – seem somewhat naïve, the actual making of the dance is far from being simplistic. With guiding music by Dansky-Idan Shimoni and mesmerizing, almost monochromatic and unexpectedly powerful light design by Olga Garcia, the work acquires a distinct artistic visual statement of great impact – and on occasion, great beauty.
Fridman devised a niche for himself in the contact improvisation genre. Following earlier works in Madrid, and later in Israel three years ago, we see greater refinement and more skilled tools. The work is based on trust between the performers, since they include quick falls and sweeping lifts while taking risky off-balance positions. Taking those chances is possible only when a dancer can rely on and trust his partners in split-second situations.
In the opening scene, a single dancer stands under a pale light that barely penetrates the mist. Each dancer that runs by fast makes her lose balance or twirls her. Some grab her and pull her to the floor, others pick her up unexpectedly and lift her high. This turbulent scene, typical of Fridman’s energy, is a basis for variations that create dizzying storms while the dancers maintain physical contact – often holding each other for dear life.
 Building up chaotic situations and resolving them have become his trademark; the absolute mutual dependence is a key part of the survival kit. 
The scenes, variations of the basic corporeal themes, eventually create a kaleidoscopic effect. The intricacy of the movement, music and edgy lighting of the space result in a play of interchangeable fragments, which leads to mesmerizing compositional landscapes that are very fetching. All seven dances were done exceedingly well and may convince viewers that each chosen way of “All Ways” can make you a better human being. Fortunately, one can enjoy the dance regardless of the state of one’s spirituality.