At 9:30 at night, audience members don’t necessarily want to get onstage, but there was nowhere to escape to during Tuesday night’s performance of “Culture Form” by Renana Raz, performed at the Israel Museum’s Dance in the Exhibition in Jeusalem, taking place each Tuesday evening through December.
Dancers and audience filled the gallery of modern art, warned sharply by the guard if they got too close to Henri Matisse’s “Two Girls in Nice” or Andre Derain’s “Three Trees.” Most, however, were seated on black museum stools, as the eleven dancers started performed in the middle of the gallery.
The piece by Raz deals with forms, looking at shapes as a geometric construct and as reflected by ideas or values. The dancers demonstrated shapes with their bodies, curving into letters of the alphabet at the start, accompanied by a stream of narration that was sometimes came from the speaker system, and sometimes from the dancers who told the audience their thoughts.
The dancers moved from people earliest concept of shapes, beginning with the alphabet, to school dances and then old and new forms of dance, including classical, rock and modern.
The inclusion of the audience in the piece was gradual, beginning with a line of dancers facing a line of audience members.
Then the dancers drew the audience into a large circle in the gallery, interspersing themselves among the audience members. Each dancer gave their impressions of circles, as a form or a value. Some dancers expressed their discomfort with a circle as an intimate, forced group, while one audience member expressed how much she liked it, offering her a view of each and every person there.
It created a more intimate experience than in other dance performances, as audience members held hands, came face to face with the dancers, and were forced into their own movements and thoughts about form.
That’s typical for Raz, a choreographer, dancer and multidisciplinary creative artist, who often incorporates theater and performance in her dance, utilizing the place and context in order to examine the influence of both on her works. She often performs in the galleries of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
“Culture Form” was performed by dancers from the Tenuat Tarbut/Cultural Movement, formed by a group of young adults in 2004 who work with youth and young adults in cultural, artistic and educational activities in communities around Israel’s periphery.
For more information about the upcoming Tuesday nights of Dance in the Exhibition, go to the Israel Museum website.