Dance review: 'The man of the hour'

choreographed by Itzik Galili; International Exposure; Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center, December 2.

(photo credit: YOSSI ZWECKER)
The unusually generous project The Man of the Hour opened the International Exposure event on the TAPAC stage as a rare co-production of Suzanne Dellal and the Israeli Opera, to reintroduce internationally renowned choreographer Itzik Galili.
Galili returned recently after living abroad for the past two-and-a-half decades and building an impressively successful career. Audience expectations ran high and Galili must have been aware of it. He chose a group of virile male dancers and two opera singers, and recruited light designer Yaron Abulafia, well versed in dramatic effects. And dramatic it was, starting with blasting sound-and-light attack, as the stage revealed soprano Anat Czarny high up, singing the saddest aria from Dido and Aeneas by Purcell, at her feet a man wrapped in ropes. The theme of tying the sublime to the rugged followed throughout the piece.
Using darker spaces on stage the dancers crawled in, straightened and got ready for a high-volume theatrical scene. Dressed in black suits they jittered and fidgeted, shouted in rage and mumbled syllables with violent and offensive innuendos; ironically, the only clear word was “kultura,” which gave a key to an under-layer of protest, perhaps a political commentary.
As the work evolved, Galili oscillated between the forced and forceful dancing, relying on numerous high kicks, turns and jumps, often in unison, and miniature solos and duets which reflected the superb classical musical choices. The first section had urgent feel, and later was paced better.
The work itself is very athletic, physical, striving for a virtuoso effect and challenging some of the dancers more than others.
In a beautiful passage, Galili relaxed the pace and left the stage for an intimate scene for four dancers and a singer, en-wrapped by a lighting pole almost touching their faces.
Yet perhaps the most intriguing scene was a duet toward the end, which encapsulated a multitude of contradicting emotions excellently executed, serving as the highlight of the whole evening.