Dance: Multiple roles

Real life meets cinema in Kolben’s ‘Living in a Movie.’

Kolben’s ‘Living in a Movie’ (photo credit: DANI KITRI)
Kolben’s ‘Living in a Movie’
(photo credit: DANI KITRI)
I was in college when I was first introduced to the concept of “extras.” Walking through campus, a friend pointed out a blond man with a red cap. “That’s my extra,” she said. “I see him all the time.”
Had she been the star of a movie, this young fellow would have been cast in a bit part, appearing only in passing, having no lines and receiving little recognition.
Over the following days, I became increasingly aware of the “extras” in my life, imagining them slurping coffee in the green room while waiting to make an appearance in the movie of my life.
The meeting of real life and cinema is at the heart of the Kolben Dance Company’s new evening, which will unofficially premiere tonight at the Suzanne Dellal Center (the official Israeli premiere is on May 31). Entitled “Living in a Movie,” this two-part program features new works by founder and artistic director Amir Kolben and independent choreographer Rachel Erdos.
Several months ago, Kolben decided to dedicate the company’s time to an in-depth investigation of the comparison and contrast between what we see on the screen and what we experience in life. He and Erdos took this topic and embarked upon two separate processes, using the nine dancers of the company as their canvas.
The cast consists of Erin Shand, Irit Amichai, Tali Donin, Nitzan Bardichev, Julie Zaoui, Daniel Maser, Regev Cohen, Or Elgarisi and Miguel Horatio Garcia Lopez (who will not perform tonight).
Kolben’s piece White Shadow presents the ultimate screening ground, a white scene, onto which saunter eight characters from different movies. Here, in this blank space, Mr. Bean can meet Lucy and possibly even share a dance with her. The characters are thrown together and forced to contend with one another against the larger-than-life images presented in Michelle Fletcher’s video art. The piece is at times tragic, at others hysterical, and seems to point at the effect of too much tube time on the brain.
At the onset of her creative process, Erdos asked the dancers to describe scenes from movies that had made a lasting impression on them. Together, the choreographer and cast dismantled these moments, creating a spectrum of emotional messages conveyed through film.
The exploration touched on the lessons learned by watching movies and the revelation that real life does not always mirror these notions.
Erdos’s Steven Was Wrong oscillates through various scripted genres from edge-of-the-seat suspense to classic romance.
Veronika Szor’s costumes allow the eight dancers to appear and disappear, playing multiple roles throughout the work.
Erdos is the first outside choreographer to create an original work for the Kolben Dance Company since the troupe’s establishment in 1998. Last season, the company presented a co-production with San Francisco’s Margaret Jenkins Dance Company.
Following that experience, which included an extended stay in California working with the partner ensemble, Kolben felt that the time was right to open up his program to yet another choreographer, thus Erdos was brought on to work with Kolben’s talented cast.
‘Living in a Movie’ will take place on May 8 at 10 p.m. and on May 31 at 9 p.m. at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv. For more information, visit