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At the Joyce...

   
 

Shaken, not stirred! 

   

 

  

 

Like 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.

Shaker 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.

Set 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. 

Shaker is at the Joyce through November 16.

 

See: Shaker, Inbal Pinto Dance Company at the Joyce

Discover: Inbal Pinto, online 

 

Tags:  dance      

 

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