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CARLO WOLFF, The Cleveland Jewish News  |  January 30, 2015

Work of Israeli writer Keret dances into State Theatre

Pilobolus, a determinedly modern dance company known for scrambling dance with other disciplines, will perform four works at the State Theatre in Playhouse Square on Jan. 31. One of those, "The Inconsistent Pedaler," is a collaboration between Pilobolus and Israeli writer Etgar Keret and his wife, actress and filmmaker Shira Geffen.

Telling a story through dance isn't easy. But when the blend of narrative, incident and movement works, something unique emerges, suggested Keret, who writes fiction, novels and graphic novels.

In a telephone interview and email from Tel Aviv, where the couple lives, Keret said the project got off to a rocky start but wound up smooth. "I was unhappy because I thought I was not really able to express myself or use my advantages as a storyteller," he said, "so after working with the group for about two weeks, I told them that I don't think that me and my wife could give them the best that we could, and we changed direction and me and my wife spent a few days together with the Pilobolus choreographer and the art director and came up with something that was like a story but it was loose enough for dance. It was more like kind of a changing situation than a plot-driven story."

With music by Perez Prado (a Cuban bandleader and mambo king of the 1950s) and the rocker Tom Petty, "The Inconsistent Pedaler" stars a stationary bicycle, the woman who rides it, and her family, which loses energy whenever she stops pedaling the bike.

Ultimately, Keret said, he and Shira let the dance tell the story. "The process of making dance could actually determine the kind of story, how it would end, how the characters would develop," he said. The trick was to find a way to reconcile "the tension between story and dance" so both "would be equal."

Keret enjoys bridging creative disciplines.

"I'm a storyteller and I'm always attracted to new mediums through which I can tell a tale," he said. "Dancing has an inner logic that is closer to poetry than to prose and the tension between the plot's perspective of a future and the dance's insistence on staying in the moment calls for a very delicate equilibrium between the two. It was fascinating to keep looking for it, it felt a bit like tightrope walking."

Neither Keret nor his wife will attend the Pilobolus performance at the State Theatre, but Keret will be in the Cleveland area on March 25 for "An evening with Etgar Keret." That 7 p.m. event, a Herbert and Marianna Luxenberg Siegal College Israel Lecture free and open to the public, will be held at the Siegal facility at 26500 Shaker Blvd. in Beachwood.

WHAT: Pilobolus, featuring an Etgar Keret segment; presented by DANCE Cleveland

WHEN: 8 p.m. Jan. 31

WHERE: State Theatre, 1519 Euclid Ave., Cleveland

TICKETS & INFO: $20 and up. Call 216-241-6000 or visit

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