polar ice melting from the angled rays of a distant sun, the
dancers in Shaker begin to move, slowly awakening from
their frosty stasis. Drawing inspiration from that most
whimsical of objects - the snow globe - the Israeli Inbal Pinto
Dance Company (led by co-directors Inbal Pinto and Avshalom
Pollak) has created a series of vignettes that depict a magical
world where good and evil do battle and where the quotidian and
the surreal coexist. The Company's style is reminiscent of
Pina Bausch's Tanztheater as well as that of the Tel
Aviv-based Batsheva Dance Company, where Pinto trained as a
dancer. Watching the dancers twist, writhe, come together
and part again, one wanted to reach out and pull them out of their
wintry trap. One felt distanced from the cold world depicted
on stage yet oddly empathetic, as if one were also trapped along
with the performers.
begins with a woman in an ice-green cocktail dress twirling a long
ribbon as if drawing patterns in the air, and slowly having it
wrap around her as if she were a prisoner. The ideas of
being shaken, and of being tied up and then freed, are apt
metaphors for the worlds inside and outside the snow globe.
The same woman serves tea to a man in a blue-and-white striped
suit who reappears toward the end of the show, walking about
headless. Dancers emerge from three small huts wearing
bodysuits that cover both their heads and bodies - faceless
monsters that threaten performer and viewer alike.
to a musical medley that includes Chopin, Arvo Pärt, Japanese
covers of European ballads from the 1950's and Swedish folk tunes,
the piece subtly plays with the audience's very perception of what
they are viewing. As the dancers slide and turn in what
appears to be snow, a woman carries a parasol and dancers emerge
from small sheds - but could they be beach cabanas? In spite
of the howling wind in the background that suggests a frozen
tundra, the viewer can't be certain that he is not also be taken
for an insane stroll on the beach. As Shaker comes to
an end, the two forces (good and evil? positive and negative? hot
and cold?) continue to interact - at odds, yet unable to live
without each other.
is at the Joyce through November 16.
Inbal Pinto Dance Company at