Shape On Us
Created for the Vertigo Dance Company, Power of Balance | premiere ISRAEL FESTIVAL 2020
Nine dancers, multiple physical abilities, encountering a stage that provides grounding for expressing their capabilities, their needs, their experiences. The artistic process is based on a common understanding by the group of dancers – to tell the truth. This comes about through moments of stability and instability, of risk-taking, of tension and extreme relations, of reality and imagination, of support, loneliness, vulnerability, and love – in a space that evolves from separate bodies and their personal stories to the creation of one body, a connected human tissue that is soft and comforting.
“Shape on Us” offers ‘a reversal of conventional conditions that tend to enforce a formal pattern on the body perceived as ‘other’ in order to normalize it, for the purpose of expanding and deepening the diverse possibilities within ourselves – the way we touch, think and observe – and creating a collective body consciousness that is whole, inclusive and better suited for any person’ (citations taken from Suslik, 2020)
About the Process by Sharon Fridman
Close to the floor, in one of the rehearsals, I asked Shmuel if he could perform a certain movement at a certain time. After he identified the movement, he said, that it was an involuntary movement, something he could not control. I asked if he could try to make the involuntary – voluntary. Shmuel said he would try.
This moment is the starting point of a search after physical logic, needs and solutions. When the involuntary is accepted, and becomes voluntary, that is where choreography happens, on the way to creating a world whose rules fulfill his needs.
As a choreographer I am usually immersed in creative processes also with amateur and non-professional people. And yet the proposal to embark on an artistic experience with people, some of whom cannot walk, posed a serious challenge to me and this led me to do an initial experiment in a workshop to which we invited project participants.
This workshop ended up being the key to a magic door. Not an hour had passed, and the thoughts of integration, society and equality gave way to the fascinating revelation of a variety and physical wealth, which opened possibilities for the investigation of forms, qualities and movement.
It was clear that this was pure choreography.
All the hours of coexistence in the study and the neutral search for physicality was cleaning the meaning of the actions of any socio-political burden or pretension and allowed expressive wealth and human variety to emerge.
The dance field was revealed to be the most suitable for this type of work. It is an area that for a long time has carried the flag of the search for physical authenticity and the genuineness of the language of movement, since it requires in its practice, combining different bodies and exposing the nature of things.
I am no stranger to this persecution. From childhood, I investigated with my mother how to find movement solutions for different life situations: moving from one chair to another, getting up from the floor and organizing the body to carry out simple tasks. The search for balance was part of our day to day and we were busy adapting the world to my mother’s needs.
When a person with a disability has to carry out a daily task in the public space, such as shopping at the supermarket, they have to face limitations that force them to focus their intention, sharpen their presence to achieve greater precision, all of which is the substrate (foundation) of stage performance. This understanding, which had begun to emerge in my childhood, is my choreography, my story
Shape on us is a composition for ten people with a wonderful physical variety. The project allows me to create an inverted world, one that adjusts and is pre-built for each of us. A world that when opening the curtain, invites the viewer to look curiously and without guilt at the body, the movement and the space between us.
Choreographer | Sharon Fridman
Artistic Consultant | Noa Wertheim
CEO and Co-Artistic Director | Adi Sha’al
Power of Balance Co-Managers / Tali Wertheim And Hai Cohen
Original Music | Noam Helfer
Costume Design | Inbal Ben Zaken – Mizo
Light & Stage Design | Sharon Fridman / Dani Fishof – Magenta
Technical director – Dani Fishof – Magenta
| Dancers co-creative
Inbal Aloni, Tomer Navot, Grisha Lev, Noam Ben Israel, Shira Ben Uriel, Amir ishar
Itamar Beck, Meitali Aharoni, Shmuel Dvir Cohen
Production Manager | Tamar Mayzlish
Power of Balance Producer | Michal Goldfield-Sadot
Video Photography | Ran Yehezkel
Stills Photography | Yoel Levi
Graphic Design | Dorit Talpaz