France-based Israeli choreographer Emanuel Gat premiered his recent work Kiryat Gat, in Tel Aviv last week with the Inbal Dance Company. This is his second creation for the company after he choreographed Suzanne about a year ago by Inbal’s invitation. Gat is expected to produce a third chapter in a process he’s maintained in recent years of creating a string of works which nourish his artistic vision conceptually and thematically.
There are reasons to question why Gat, who is well-established within the European dance scene and is at the peak of his career, decided toreminisce about Kiryat Gat, that modest provincial town in the South. In hindsight, Kiryat Gat was a major pivotal point in Gat’s future soaring international exposure, at a point in time when some of his optimistic expectations were shuttered. Fortunately, new horizons opened unexpectedly for him in southern France, and his relocation there in 2007 became a major factor that accelerated his career.
By inviting Gat, Inbal knew it was working with a renowned choreographer. In return, the company gave him a chance to review his own artistic and emotional paths at this point in his life, enabled him to refresh his look at his past here, absorb its volatile cultural and political changes, and process his observations through the dancers’ bodies.
How does the performance start?
The work begins in a series of solos, calm – almost elegant and polite – in contrast to an old-time popular song by Avner Gadasi that played at full volume. When the cast of eight joined and took charge of the stage, the space became alive, even a bit chaotic, just before the first notes of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata no. 29 played by Barenboim, spread its deep pensive moods.
What a chasm. Gat’s musical clashing choices are not incidental; they are intentional statements and political observations. Through his detailed use of nuances as an integral part of his fluid, ever-changing compositions we sense intuitively the rift and tension between the periphery and the established elite among other indications of future alarming changes of our social stability.
Gat managed to weave a richly textured fabric of movement’s nuances, often based on the fragility of the instability. A bunch of small formations morphed into new, surprising ones. Chaotic scenes seem to make sense even through a simple hand gesture, echoed on the other side of the stage by another dancer.
Gat seems to constantly keep the reins and never let the basic contradicting forms in the spatial sense lose their direction. Moreover, we are moved by their modest delicacy. The dancers come across as a true individualist assemblage, within their camaraderie.
In Gat’s long artistic career, one can find plenty of manifestations of his daring soul. He proved that with a brilliant, unexpected meshing of genres by choreographing one of his earlier pieces, a compact rendition of the Rite of Spring composed by Igor Stravinsky (1913), danced as cheeky, highly passionate salsa dancing.
Now his audiences are waiting for Gat’s chapter three.