Thursday, October 30th, 2014 12:00 PM
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- There is no correct interpretation. There is no lens through which some will perceive more than others.
With Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, the 17-member troupe next in line on the DanceCleveland series, all viewpoints are valid. Not even the group's director has a lock on what his work is about.
"It's not about understanding, right or wrong," said Rami Be'er, longtime artistic head of Kibbutz and author of "If more › At All," the evening-length work it will present here next weekend.
Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9.
Where: Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square, Cleveland.
Tickets: $25-$55. Go to dancecleveland.org or call 216-241-6000.
"Each spectator can tell his own story about what he sees on stage. It's all eyes connected to himself, through the piece. I want to give people the freedom to make their own associations."
One thing "If At All" – a sliver of the company's vast repertoire – definitely isn't: culturally specific. One need not hail from north Israel, home to KCDC, a noted dance school and a secondary student company since 1973, to derive meaning from the piece.
No, the 65-minute work, to be performed without intermission, is more universal than that. There is no narrative, per se. What it concerns are simply the nature of existence and the dynamic relationship between the individual and society.
"Human beings, as they are, are my inspiration," Be'er explained. "All materials in life are my materials. They all come into my work."
No one would know better than Be'er if there were, in fact, a concrete narrative. That's because, unlike most choreographers, Be'er exercises control over nearly every aspect of his productions.
He doesn't just make dance, in other words. He conceives whole environments. For "If At All," in addition to the choreography, Be'er, a trained cellist, oversaw both the lighting and costume designs and drafted the soundtrack, a wide-ranging mix of indie rock and electronica.
"What I bring is a proposal," said the director of Kibbutz, last seen here in 1998. "I create a world and then invite the viewer to be part be part of a journey. I leave him with himself, with his own feelings and memories."
Hence the director's reluctance even to talk at length about his piece. Asked about his style of choreography and for a rough outline of what transpires during "If At All," Be'er retreated, not wishing to exert too much influence over the experience.
All Be'er would say is that his dance is physically demanding, especially over the span of an hour, and that it calls for the whole body, not just fancy footwork. Everything else, he said, will be clear in the moment.
"I don't like to describe my work," Be'er said. "I believe good art has to speak on its own from the stage. When the curtain goes up, something has to catch you."
The Plain Dealer, Zachary Lewis
RELATED COMPANY: Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company
Friday, October 24th, 2014 12:00 PM
Cted as "a troupe that belongs to the world elite" at the Weimar Festival in Germany, DANCECleveland presents The Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, who will be performing for two performances in the Ohio Theatre at PlayhouseSquare on Nov. 8 and 9.
Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC) is considered one of Israel's most vibrant dance companies. They're known for their innovation and sophisticated choreography as well as stunning dancers. Tickets start at more › $25 and can be purchased at the PlayhouseSquare Ticket Office by calling (216) 241-6000 or by going online at www.dancecleveland.org.
Featured on the program will be the evening length work If At All that was choreographed by Artistic Director Rami Be'er. The core theme is relationship as explored through transcendental and revolving events set to music by Volcano Choire, H. Gudnadottir, Nine Inch Nails, Massive Attack, Murcof, Olafur Arnalds, M. Richter, J. Johansson, L. Einaudi and Ophir Leibovitch.
The company is well recognized by its work - Be'er has performed over 50 of his works internationally. By combining a technically superb and physical cast of dancers to his avant guard choreography, it has raised KCDC to the pinnacle of Israeli contemporary dance earning them the privilege to perform at some of the most widely known and respected venues in the world.
Anna Kisselgoff (The New York Times) said, "Be'er favors a general modern-dance idiom that makes use of the entire body rather than isolated steps, and the company is more than well trained in this idiom."
Along with his work with KCDC, Be'er has choreographed works for such diverse groups as Gratz Opera Ballet (Austria), Batsheva Dance Company (Israel), Hungarian National Ballet, New Danish Dance Theatre (Denmark), Staatsballett Berlin (Germany), Croatian National Ballet Theatre, Reykjavik National Ballet (Iceland), Tanzcompagnie Oldenburg (Germany), Ballett Basel (Switzerland), Poznan Opera House Ballet (Poland), National Theatre Ballet Brno (Czech Republic) and more.
DANCECleveland, a Cleveland, Ohio based non-profit, is one of a handful of presenters nationally that is dedicated solely to the presentation of modern and contemporary dance. The centerpiece of the organization's programming is its annual performance series. The performances are surrounded by an array of educational outreach events including artist-run master classes, residency programs, student matinees, pre-performance lectures and post-performance Q&A sessions, designed both to break artistic boundaries and provide community access to the dance aesthetic and dance luminaries that DANCECleveland brings to Northeast Ohio.
axs.com, Mark Horning
RELATED COMPANY: Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company
Friday, October 10th, 2014 12:00 PM
Member: Dance Critics Association
Dance Cleveland opened its 59th season in spectacular style with a performance of the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet at E. J. Thomas Hall, on the University of Akron Campus. The company, which was founded in 1996, has two official schools, one in Aspen, one in Santa Fe, and a year-round Mexican outreach program.
The huge audience, which filled the orchestra section of the auditorium, was enthralled by more › the eleven person company's creativity and discipline. They lived up to their advanced billing for adventurous dancing. The style has been credited with "epitomizing the contemporary-classic genre."
The program opened with "Over Glow," choreographed by Jorma Elo, and performed to music by Felix Mendelssohn and Ludwig van Beethoven. The composition was danced with precision, with three male clones and three females who could have been triplets in physical style and appearance. The dynamic music was perfectly paralleled in mood and temperament by Elo's dance designs.
Combining classical ballet moves with modern movements, the body shifts, freezes, lifts, running, slides, spins, and jumps were a master class in combining the two styles. The finely gym toned bodies of the dancers created enthralling visual and emotional pictures.
If "Over Glow" had been the sole offering on the program, the audience would have been satisfied, but it was only the appetizer.
"Return to a Strange Land," set to four emotional pieces by Czech composer Leoš Janá?ek, and choreographed by Ji?í Kylián, Czech contemporary dance choreographer, explored the limitations and capabilities of space, body parts, entrances, exits, and contrasts, with some humorous overtones. The distinctive movements, which incorporated dancers running and sliding across the floor, combined classical ballet and modern dance. With overtones of sadness and longing, the overarching feeling was that of hope.
"Square None" was choreographed by Norbert De La Cruz III, a young Filipino-American. Still in his twenties, the Julliard School graduate is noted for his creation of inventive and haunting characters. Accented by creative lighting, the dancers thrust their limbs in and out of the squares of lights, parts of their bodies often seeming to disappear. Constantly changing from intertwining patterns, to unison solo dancing, the performers seemed to be playing a game in which the musical notes set the pattern and tone for point and counter-point movements. The overall effect was an audience-pleasing experience.
Capsule judgement: Pam Young, executive director of Dance Cleveland has done it again. Young has the ability to find dance companies that entertain and delight audiences. Her selection of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet futher confirms her grasp of the national and international dance scene and makes sure that Cleveland area audiences experience the best.
Next presentation by Dance Cleveland is the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, presented through the sponsorship of the Cleveland Israel Arts Connection, a program of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, on Saturday, November 8 @ 8 PM and Sunday, November 9 @3 PM at the Ohio Theatre.
Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 12:00 PM
DANCECleveland's 2014-15 season is slated to tap into the creative spirit from America's majestic West to a kibbutz in Israel to the Carnival spectacle of Brazi, bringing in five innovative dance companies from around the globe. The season opens in October w/ Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, a company hailed for its bold vision and accomplished dancers. See schedule:
October - Aspen Sante Fe Ballet
November - Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company
January – Pilobolus more › [pictured]
March – Compagnie Kafig – Correria Agwa
April - Wendy Whelan – Restless Creature
May – Subscriber Perk! Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host
Victor Lucas, Cool Cleveland
Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 12:00 PM
AKRON, Ohio -- DANCECleveland, in conjunction with The University of Akron's EJ Thomas Hall, kicked off its 2014-2015 with the return of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Sunday.
The 11-member touring company, last seen in the region in 2010, brought with it to the former home of the Ohio Ballet -- another troupe known for its touring popularity -- a program of three contemporary dance works including the Jiri Kylian masterwork "Return more › to a Strange Land".
Things got off to a rousing start with Boston Ballet resident choreographer Jorma Elo's latest work for ASFB, "Over Glow" (2011). Set to music by Beethoven and Mendelssohn, the piece bathed in a yellow-green hue began with a solo by a shirtless male dancer moving in tightly controlled choreography that seemed contrary in energy to the booming and sweeping classical music accompanying him.
Several other dancers then trickled onto the stage following suit, dancing self-absorbed solos filled with rippling arm movements, sharp hands gestures, wiggling torsos and high leg kicks. The abstract and quirky choreography interjected with moments of humor and consternation had its six dancers pausing at times to linger in stillness before resuming their dance riffs.
A talented choreographer whose work tends to either alienate or delight audiences, Elo embraces playful oddity in his choreographic movements and gestures, turning them into a collective thing of beauty.
The mood in "Over Glow" mood turned solemn midway through the piece as the dancers paired off into three male-female couples and moved through an array of gesture-infused phrases and partnered lifts. The work's most intriguing moments occurred when a male dancer intensely held his flat palm inches from his female partner's face, who the recoiled in fear as if being smothered.
Shuffling her feet backwards and gripping his arm, she arched slowly backward and slumped to the floor lifeless. A heady moment in an otherwise light-hearted work, the scene was followed with more humor as a different male dancer meandered onto the stage to the prostrate dancer and nudged at her limp body with his head like a dog trying to wake its master.
Elo's unusual and interesting piece was followed by Kylian's 1975 contemporary ballet marvel "Return to a Strange Land." Dense with intertwining partnered moves and set to a lulling piano score by Janacek, the beautifully danced work mesmerized.
A trio of dancers (two males, one female) opened the piece, holding hands and weaving in and around each other in clever patterns. In the second of the work's four parts, dancers Samantha Klanac Campanile and Joseph Watson engaged in a soft and lovely pas de deux built on choreography that seemed to pull the dancers upward.
Campanile, on pointe, was swept into leaps and soaring lifts by Watson and spun on one knee in a unique pirouette variation. The remainder of the expertly-crafted work continued the brilliance of the first two sections with more inventive choreography and partnering combinations, making it the highlight of the program.
The troupe's deft and inspired dancing continued in the final work on the entertaining program, "Square None" (2012), by up and coming choreographer Norbert De La Cruz lll. The Princess Grace Foundation Award-winner's first work for the company blended nicely constructed movement phrases with lighting designer Seah Johnson's dark and atmospheric lighting scheme featuring a grid of lighted squares.
Like the program's opening work, "Square None" began with its seven dancers moving in self-contained solos within individual lighted squares on the stage, each solo a spurt of energy ending in an elegant pose. Cone-like streams of light from overhead creating the squares along with stage fog and a wide-ranging musical score (Aphex Twin to Handel) gave the work a pulsing and dreamy feel.
Using the familiar contemporary dance movement language in vogue nowadays, Cruz created an enticing piece that fit well on ASFB's dancers and pointed to a bright choreographic future for the recent Juilliard School graduate.
The Plain Dealer, Steve Sucato
RELATED COMPANY: Aspen Santa Fe Ballet