‘We’ will connect

Turkish choreographer Bedirhan Dehman presents his solo work for the first time in Israel

WE’ by Bedirhan Dehmen (photo credit: MURUT DURUM)
WE’ by Bedirhan Dehmen
(photo credit: MURUT DURUM)
When Bedirhan Dehmen says “we” he is referring not only to himself and his dancers but also to society at large. A choreographer and performer among many other things, Dehmen wishes to utilize the stage as a platform to connect people. “I believe in a sort of togetherness,” says Dehmen.
It is late in the evening and Dehmen is sitting in a university dance department in Istanbul. He and the two dancers who join him in We have just taken a break to eat dinner. Their days have been long, Dehmen explains, especially his as he works to finish a solo that he will premier tonight at the Suzanne Dellal Center. The performance is part of the annual Tel Aviv Dance Festival, which is hosting artists from Korea, Spain, Colombia and the United States to Tel Aviv this summer.
Dehmen’s visit is monumental as it is the first time a contemporary Turkish choreographer will present work in Israel.
Dehmen, 37, holds bachelors and masters degrees in sociology and a PhD in dramaturgy. He came to movement via folk dance. In recent years Dehmen has toured the world, collaborating with leading artists in Europe and further afield.
We, which has become Dehmen’s choreographic calling card, premiered last April in Turkey. The piece is a trio, accompanied by a live musician, which celebrates and questions various male rituals. The audience sits in the round, allowing for a 360-degree view of the work.
“The piece is about oneness, a secular ritual and connectedness,” he explains. “I think it is very important for me and humanity to connect. This is the single motivation for me to create things. I aim to explore who I am what is inside me and then to externalize it, unfold it so that maybe we can connect. We, as people. We as people with certain human sensibilities can connect. I believe in those single terms and values, simple and single,” he says.
Since the premier, We has been performed 15 times.
Recently, due to family expansion one of the dancers had to be replaced.
“We have been rehearsing every day, which is very intense. This cast change isn’t technical rather it has become part of the work. It is like a new context for us to reconsider and re-explore everything. It makes the piece stay alive, which is very important for me. In the piece there is a structure and fixed patterns but there are spaces for improvisation, which is something I have in all of my pieces. I want to keep that unknown space to be explored and fulfilled.”
The second part of the evening is entitled Bedr.
“Bedr means ‘full moon’ and is the etymological root of my name,” Dehmen says. “I can say that the piece is about the poetics of manhood. I am the father of a nine-year-old son. As I observe him growing up and learn how to become a father, I come to terms with my own boyhood. Father-and-son issues are challenging and I find they are a strong motivation for creativity.”
Bedr is Dehmen’s first solo creation.
“I have been working for four weeks in the studio every single day. Rather than trying to be two people at the same time, inside and outsider, what I prefer is to record almost everything and just be there as someone who performs. I turn on the camera and I go. I’m working mostly with improvisation. At night, when I come back home, I start watching and analyzing. The next day I continue. That’s how I am making this solo.
I’m on my own but I’m used to it, dancing and improvising, reflecting on my own. The whole process is very loaded, emotionally, physically, intellectually. I guess I am enjoying it and suffering it,” he says.
Bedirhan Dehmen will present We and Bedr tonight at tomorrow afternoon at the Suzanne Dellal Center. For more info visit www.suzannedellal.org.il.