Memories of her past

Yasmeen Godder’s ‘Lie Like a Lion’ premieres this week

Yasmeen Godder’s ‘Lie Like a Lion’ (photo credit: PR)
Yasmeen Godder’s ‘Lie Like a Lion’
(photo credit: PR)
To the outside observer, Yasmeen Godder’s work Lie Like a Lion might come across as a completely new entity. That is entirely true. The work, which was first unofficially shown at the Suzanne Dellal Center in November, is fresh off the choreographic press. However, a closer look at the piece reveals bits and bobs from 15 years of creation, mementos of previous works and trinkets from the past seen through the lens of today.
Lie Like a Lion will officially premiere this weekend as part of the Suzanne Dellal Center’s Women Create Dance festival. Over the course of two weeks, the center will dedicate its stages to female artists. Other choreographers to present during the festival include Noa Dar, Iris Erez, Rachel Erdos and Shlomit Fundaminsky.
Godder is undoubtedly one of the leading feminine voices in the Israeli dance milieu. Since her return to Israel in the late 1990s, she has forged a new path upon which she boldly devised an unconventional genre of dance.
Vacillating between solo and ensemble works, Godder proved that it is possible to choreograph without being too concerned about prettiness, without making any apologies and with a whole lot of courage.
Having recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of her ensemble, Godder used Lie Like a Lion as an opportunity to take a moment to look back at the arc upon which she has been flying.
Lie Like a Lion begins, rather unceremoniously, with the entrance of the three performers (Godder, Matan Daskal and Moshe Aharonov) onto the stage. Dressed in casual attire, the three take their places among partially revealed piles of props. In the back of the stage, hugging the rear curtain, is a large, furry heap. Sitting quietly on the front corner of the stage is a squat television atop which lies a DVD player, adorned with what looks like party favors. On the piano is an idle, shrouded object.
As in all of Godder’s works, these unassuming blobs give a hint as to what lies ahead. One can be certain that none of these masses will remain untouched or intact for very long.
From a place of relative order, Lie Like a Lion slowly devolves into composed chaos. Godder trades her dance clothes for a matchbox corset, fake bust, gown and wig, all relics from previous works. The corset was designed by Ruth Palmon for Godder’s 1999 opus Alena’s Wall . Ilanit Shamia crafted the “rubber tits bra,” which hails from Two Playful Pink (2003). The furry heap includes a lion mask, made by Alona Rodeh for I ’m Mean, I Am (2006). Nearly every prop – and there are dozens – is a remnant of one of Godder’s creations.
With the touch of a button, the television screen comes to life, showing Godder in her Jaffa studio.
It is unclear if the rehearsals shown are from the process of Lie Like a Lion or if they are excerpts from Godder’s impressive video archive.
At times, Godder’s life and work partner Itzik Giuli is present on the screen. At others, there is no one.
This element is a gesture, inviting the audience into the space where Godder’s magic happens.
As she continues to move through this staged memory lane, Godder is not only touching on moments from her past but also grappling with who she is and what she has done. There is triumph here but also something a touch darker, perhaps twinges regret or disapproval.
Musicians Daskal and Aharonov jump in and out of the spotlight, loitering on the sidelines at times and full-on dancing at others. The relationship among the three shifts back and forth from polite space sharers to enthusiastic teammates.
It is rare to see an artist as aware of herself as Godder is.
Lie Like a Lion roars with Godder’s self- possessed clarity. The work gives us the sense that Godder is in full command of her repertoire, that she has written it, guided it and owns it completely.
Lie Like a Lion will be performed on January 10 at 9 p.m. at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv.. For more information, visit