Adventures in Australia by Israel Aloni

What an incredible month I have had in the southern continent.

A new piece, I SAY YES with and for the graduating students of the Dance BA Course at Adelaide College Of The Arts, premier on the 29th of November at the college's main theater.

More info here

Additionally, I have been traveling back and forth to Melbourne to meet my new colleagues at Transit Dance as well as start placing a few cornerstones for the realization of Tr.IPP

Last weekend we had the first Tr.IPP Meet ever, when I had the wonderful opportunity to spend the day with a few artists who are considering their participation in the pathway in 2018.

It was a very inspiring, rewarding and encouraging weekend and I am really excited and inspired to spend more time in Melbourne and in my new creative base in the city - Transit Dance.

The application for Tr.IPP 2018 is closing tomorrow (30 November 2017)  so if you are considering to apply, get going with the process.

More info about Tr.IPP here

 

Soon I will share more ideas and expressions of my impressions from my journey in the past few weeks through the roller-coaster we call life.

 

 Tr.IPP Meet  Photo by: Paul Malek

Tr.IPP Meet

Photo by: Paul Malek

 Photo by: Paul Malek

Photo by: Paul Malek

CATHARSES critic by Michael Svennevig by Israel Aloni

A translation to English of the full critic, originally written in Danish by Michael Svennevig after CATHARSES performance at Teaterøen in Copenhagen on the 17th of September 2017.

Through the dark, one can hear something rustling. At first, the sound seems to come from behind the audience, but then from the stage, where something is rolling in from the back. This is seen through the darkness as an indefinite mass, and only when the lights slowly go up does it becomes clear that there are two distinct plasma-like globes rolling in. Two creatures turn and twist before they eventually escape - and are born. Soon after, they are on their feet as creatures exploring themselves and each other. It's a man and a woman. Both wear long thin black tights and a loose-hanging robes, open in the back. It's not typical dance costumes, and the same go for their movements They move towards each other with increasing speed. Like magnets, always looking for each other, but never coming together. As if they are searching for and rejecting each other at the same time. Some of the movements are fast and abrupt. Others slow and sliding, often in direct temporal contrast to the music, which emphasizes the unresolved tension between them. They are together and yet always separate.

The title of the work, "Catharses", is the plural of the Greek word of cleansing, and used the first time by Aristotle in "The Poetics" from ca. 325 B.C., where de defines tragedy and its effect on the audience. 

ilDance is based in Sweden. The choreographer, Israel Aloni, was born and raised in Israel, then moved to Sweden where together with Lee Brummer he formed ilDance. In an earlier piece called “Forbidden Fruit”, Aloni explored human sexuality a nd then in “Catharses” focused on the female and its significance. The piece resonates with disarming poetic cruelty and powerful allusions to Pina Bausch´ "Le Sacre du Printemp". 

It was danced wonderfully by the two dancers: Lærke Appelon & Lukas Pzytarsky. All urges and desires to beatify and entertain were removed. What remains is only a pure desire and the courage to seek and perhaps find a more sincere expression. 

Even though the dancers take off their clothe, they never appeare to be totally naked covered as they were in mud. Just as in Bausch’ 'Le Sacre du Printemps', which takes place in soil and mud (which I watched at the Paris Opera a couple of years ago), it reminded us of our first parents, Adam and Eve, as they rose up from the earth with the curiosity to explore the new world that surrounds them - or rather "the first world". 

I strongly feel that we observed a birth, a rare moment of creation. Something that makes theater the space we come back to again and again for just such moments, to experience wonders and to see into ourselves and our own lives. Such moments justify why we keep on returning, because we might be lucky enough to experience it again - and as the first bite of the apple of wisdom, we are able to understand how everything is connected.

 

It felt as if I was seeing contemporary dance for the first time, as if it were a brand new fresh language. Both Appelon and Pzytarsky danced with a secret they never gave away. It was hard not to be captivated. There were no barriers, the work flowed directly to the audience in a delightful fusion of sound and motion. I could have watched them all night - much longer than the 40 minutes it lasted. 

 

Link to original text in Danish:

http://msvennevig.blogspot.dk/2017/09/anmeldelse-catharses-pa-teateren.html

 

Link to information about CATHARSES

www.ildance.se/catharses/

 

 

 

 

Impulses post Impulstanz 2017 by Israel Aloni

This article does not represent my beliefs or comprehension of contemporary dance in their entirety. It is rather a compilation of significant impulses, thoughts and ponders. Given the fact that these peaks of contemplation revealed themselves to me at a time when I was attending Impulstanz 2017 in Vienna, I thought it was appropriate to share the following subjective impulses with the world. 

I am not excusing by any means the statements which you are about to read. However, I believe that the context must be revealed as a blanket of references on which I can serve my mind’s outbursts. 

As you will witness shortly, this article is filled with genuine queries and quests. I send out many sentences which end with a question mark to the universe, hoping that an answer will return either to pay a visit to me or someone else who stumbles upon the following lines. 

Lets start

The question, what is contemporary dance? has been longing for an answer for quite some time. People dedicate their lives to the practice of contemporary dance, many of whom are emancipated as people only by their practice of that particular art form.

However, to many of these same people, it is challenging and often even irritating when someone attempts to explain or describe what contemporary dance is. 

Denying description and explanation, a rather religious conduct, don’t you think? 

Dedicating your life and emancipate oneself through a devoted practice of something so abstract that it cannot and should not be explained or described as such is scarily similar to the dedication and devotion that allowed the monotheist religions leak into the intellectual pipelines of humanity throughout our history. 

Do I dare to ask the unforgettable question, what is contemporary dance?

Imagine…

If you were blindfolded and taken somewhere without knowing anything about where you are taken or what you may experience once you get there, then the blindfold would be taken off and you would find yourself in a situation that you could rather spontaneously recognize as a performance situation or a performative act happening, what would be the leading questions and examinations that you would utilize in order to asses whether you are at a dance or even more specifically, contemporary dance, performance?

In other words, what are the molecules or the DNA of contemporary dance? 

Imagine…

If you found a dead body of an art form, and you were running an autopsy to identify it, what would be the signs that you would look for in order to know if this dead body is one of a contemporary dance or not?

What would be the hints and inclinations that you would be after?

What would be the signs that you would draw on? What would they look like, taste like, smell like, feel like?

In other words, what do you think makes contemporary dance - contemporary dance?

Sidetrack…

Lets say you are making an omelet but you are no longer using eggs, you are not frying it, you are not even using a frying pan to make it, you are not serving it on a plate or any other serving surface for that matter and there is no one eating it, are you actually making an omelet?

And what if in the process of making an omelet you took a few vegetables and chopped them, placed them in a bowl, poured some oil and vinegar on them and had yourself or someone else takes it in through the digestive system. Would you still say you made an omelet or would you consider to admit that you have made a salad? 

Do you think you would be afraid to be recognized (if at all) as just one more salad maker? Do you think you would loose the prestige and fame that you always wanted to gain as an omelet maker? 

Are you less important now that you realized you have been wanting to make omelets your entire life but actually all you can create, in a good flow, and come to conclusions about, are salads?

Why can you not accept the fact that on your search to make the most mind blowing omelet you ended up making a salad?

I have got news for you, what you made is not an original, unique, innovative or even exciting omelet, it is a regular, generic, simple and delicious salad.

Back to dance…

Whilst we are at it, what is the fear from expertise and experience, in contemporary dance, derived of? 

Why do dance makers enjoy so much diminishing their livelihood and lifetime dedications to a practice that indicates “everybody is a dancer”?

We must not forget that everybody can, and in my opinion should, dance. 

But should anyone who dances be a legitimate go-to-expert in the evolution of dance as an art form?

Where is the line or is it a whole universe between dance and the art of dance?

In Hebrew, a dance which is practice in social and folklore contexts is called RIKUD (ריקוד) where is a dance that is either spiritual, mystical and/or artistic is called MAHOL (מחול).

These words’ etymologies are profoundly different and each has totally different meaning and connotation.

Perhaps the general and generic english, that we usually use in the dance field, has also decapitated our art form from its uniqueness and particularity. Perhaps the use of such a general language is the reason that we are often confused by the similarity between dance which is a respectful art form and that which occurs as mating rituals of teenagers at a school parties and even that which is naturally happening by the growth of plantation in our backyard. It is all dance.

General vs. particular

Why is it on one hand important for us to have “dance festivals” but at the same time refrain from accepting and perhaps even feeling empowered by a particular definition of dance?

Why is the dance world, field, sector or however you want to call it, so timid and feeling inferior to other art forms so we feel that it is not enough to make dance, to present dance, to research dance, to communicate through dance and to BE dance?

Why do we feel a must to branch out to cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, non-dance, post-dance and other notions of creation processes? 

Not to say, by any little bit, that collaborations are bad. I am all about and thanks to collaborations. However, we should be allowed to also make, learn, research, develop and perform solid dance.

So, what is dance?

If I were watching a show (which I often do) or better yet if I were performing a show (which I have also done a few hundreds, perhaps thousands, times) how would I know thatI am observing/doing dance?

For those of you who are thinking “but, why do you have to know? It is just all art!”

I have many things to say to you and one of them would be a question: why do you have a passport?

In order to venture, travel and journey in full freedom one has to depart.

Where is dance departing from?

The body? Does it have to be a human body?

The space? What kind of space?

The performance? Must dance have audience?

Time? Does dance only exist in correspondence with the infinite continuum of time?

Another thing I would like to ask, how come it is alright for Rage Against The Machine, Elvis Presley, Adele, 50 Cent, Amy Winehouse, Vivaldi, Philip Glass, Björk, and many other leaders of their own genres to accept the fact that they all make (or made) music but us, in dance, we think that in order to be innovative we need to go against that same thing that defines us altogether? 

There is no post-music, music is not over music. 

There are subgenera like post-rock and post-punk but not post-music. 

Music does not feel like it has to refuse its own origins and identity in order to be important. It is always music first of all. 

There is no non-music either. Again, there are only non-genre practices, not non-everything that music is.

Why is there non-dance?

And if you can not describe dance, how can you then relate to concepts such as post-dance or non-dance?

Better yet, if you can not describe dance or talk about dance as dance, how do you expect public and audiences to listen and respond to you, to us?

How can you call something “dance festival” if you can not or perhaps refuse to describe dance?

What is the festivity all about then?

Is this some spiritual practice where one celebrates the death of an entity? Is this what the festivity all about? Are we holding festivals to announce and celebrate the end of dance, the death of it?

Dance on the spectrum of gender

As a person who is immersed in the journey within, across and beyond the contextualization and conceptualization of gender through language and practices in different societies, I am intrigued by its infinite variety and demonstrations in the universe. 

I am reminded, and would like to remind you too, that no matter how you see yourself and/or the world, no matter what happens across the correspondence between who you are referred to as and who you would like to be referred to as, whether you are gendered by birth or by life, no one rejects the fact that gender is a spectrum of endless possibilities and combinations of male and female.

Male and female are general and rather ambiguous instigations of directions. They are our points of reference and through, across, despite and because of these references, we are each able to discuss gender and perhaps measure and liberate that specific and unique self that is ours.

Back to dance, what are our reference with which we can construct or identify our subjective and individual self as dance artists?

Dance like Napoleon Bonaparte

Another thought that comes to my mind is the violent characteristics of invasion and colonization. To some extent, I see the spreading and binge of contemporary dance as a ruthless regime which is never satisfied or content with its own cultural heritage or geographic territory but rather violate everything that it comes in touch with in order to fit itself everywhere. Even more saddening than that is the similarities between the generalization and lightheadedness with which we treat the identity of contemporary dance, to that which brutal regimes and ideologies treat those who are other and/or different to them. 

There is something missionary and rather pathetic in how contemporary dance yearns for recognition and validation from everyone and anyone, to the extent of loosing its integrity, specificity and dignity.

It has become so general in the mask of eclecticism, so bland in the mask of conceptualism, so plain in the mask of politically-correctness and so alienated in the mask of globalized. 

Back to the future

The year is 2017, it was not that long ago when people were looking for ways to express themselves through movement and choreography which are different to the classical ballet aesthetic and philosophy. The pioneers of modern dance worked very devotedly to develop a language and methodologies which could demonstrate and develop dance without the unnecessary comparison to the previously existing dance form which up until then were either extremely strict or extremely loose. 

What are we devoted for as a dance community nowadays? What are the philosophies and methodologies that we are going to leave for the generations after us to utilize in their way to emancipate themselves? 

Will there be dance in a few decades? How will humans know that they are dancing? Will they be able to recognize the ancestral connections between the contemporary dance of the 21st century to the dance that happened on earth in the 20th century and even in the century before that?

If so, what would be the elements that they would be referring to?

What is the DNA or dance? What makes dance - dance?

   

   

Crossroad July 2017 by Israel Aloni

In the process of making a new piece, I progressively discover my attraction to the history of my people. A strong connection to the past which still resonates so strongly in the inner walls of my current being is flirting with my concentration and very close to win it over.

There is no way to identify the roots of this connection. There is no way to trace back the unfurling of my memorization with the commitment to life, the commitment to remain. 

My people. Those who felt the need to walk on the surface of the earth, only to oppose the possibility of their existence becoming a myth or a legend.  

Such hunger and determination are inspiring my inner voices to break out in songs. The kind of songs that ease the navigation through the crowded and loud tracks of life. 

I am at a crossroad. I am looking around me and identifying multiple possibilities. I acknowledge the curiosity and thrill to make a change and evolve. I recognize the multiple possibilities and I honor all of them. There is no fear and no struggle, only inquisitive heart. 

One thing is solid in my experience and that is the commitment to remain.