X– a dance piece

Choreographed by Ori Flomin in collaboration with the dancers.

Dancers: Tony Bordonaro, Austin Coats.   

Lighting by Kelly Rudolph

Music:  Strannye Yagodi - Issledoniya and INXS

Performed at Jack Crysrtal Theater. Tisch Dance Works II, November 7,8 2019

The duet X for two male dancers, explores a meeting between two strangers. A crossroad where hesitation, negotiation and assumptions come to play with flirtation and one’s self image in which boundaries are tested. 

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In today’s era of online dating and meeting I wanted to express the intimacy that we look for yet are afraid to explore.

In this piece I wanted to minimize the use of technology and focus on the dancers and how their bodies can express the range of emotions.

 

Creation process:

 

Working with two dancers who didn’t know each other was a good starting point as it created the right tension 

The process began with a series of improvisations which I recorded on video. I explored different ways of how people get to know each other, interact with each other and test how far they are willing to let themselves get close to one another.

One interesting exercise was using the image of an estuary, where the river meets the ocean. Imagining one dancer being the river and the other the ocean and how they come to become each other, mold into one another yet remain separate

It made me remember that point when you can swim in the water and feel how the temperature can be different just a few feet apart.

This led to a slow partnering section in which the dancers keep in contact but in a very light way. Barely touching each other outer skin surface. Like testing the water, checking the temperature, feeling each other.  I really enjoyed this exploration and improv that led us to set a choreographed sequence.

Other improv included the idea of shedding our skin like a snake. This was a way for me to bring out the dancer’s vulnerability and expose something of their physicality that is deep and personal.

Later as we set the piece the dancers actually peeled their clothes off as if it was their skin in a diagonal path that led them the downstage corners of the stage. When they end up in their underwear, they look at each other, exposed vulnerable yet confident.

The dancers then move towards each other and confront each other more physically pushing each other and falling into each other arms. It was a way for me to show how we desire to meet someone that we can depend on and let the other person take our weight.

That is a pivotal moment in the dance  which allowed the dancers to come closer and be intimate with each other.  they sit on the floor, slowly embrace each other and lean their heads into the other person’s shoulder. The moment the dancers start to feel comfortable in the arms of each other and lean towards each other is also the moment they realize they might not trust a person they don’t really know.

As I was not sure how to end the piece, I came up with the idea that the dancers get up and in the most casual way dress up in the other person’s cloths and then leave the room. When we tested this in the studio it really worked for me

There was something so beautiful by the simple act of seeing both dancers get dressed and as they put the other person’s cloths,  it  proposed the question of identity and how the cloths we are wearing shapes us into a specific personality ?

Performance and reflection:

 

It was very rewarding to work with two very talented and skilled dancers. Both Austin and Tony were very open to all the improv tasks as well as shared interesting discussions about our experiences in meeting people, intimacy, what we are willing to reveal of ourselves when we confront a new person, sexual attraction, curiosity and more.  All this research and improv generated the material for the piece, and it was a collaborative effort.

It felt like the piece had a natural progression to it and once we had the structure of it, it was a matter of some fine editing.

 

When transferring the piece into the stage I wanted to keep the lights very simple and create a space for intimacy, so the dancers will be well seen.

Kelly Rudolph did a great job with the lights as she started with lighting each dancer with a specific color mark their space and it slowly blended into a while light that was their shared space as they came closer to each other.

The lighting plot was really simple to keep the focus on the dancers and let the story of the piece be told through their bodies and expressions.

 

I got very positive feedback for the piece, from the faculty feedback team as well as my colleague’s and audience members. People commented on how I managed to portray the sense of intimacy and hesitation and the strong connection between the two dancers who had a very different personality and physicality that complimented each other. The most rewarding comment was that people could relate to the situation presented in the dance and could identify their own personal relationship experiences through the dancers.

 

It was a very satisfying creation process as well as the performances.

The only restriction I felt was the time limit of 8min put on TDW shows. I would like to develop the piece so each section can go longer and go deeper with each idea

I hope to have the opportunity to do so in the future.