This was apparent in the previous two works of hers seen at Sadler’s Wells, where Eyal is Associate Artist: Bill performed by Ballet British Columbia last March, and Used to Be Blonde, which capped her one-year directorship of National Youth Dance Company.
It is even more so in works created for L-E-V, the Israeli company she directs in conjunction with Gai Behar. L-E-V (a name that points to the Hebrew word for heart, lev) is small – six dancers only – but perfectly attuned to Eyal’s very specific style, where meaning accrues from the ceaseless repetition of steps and movements.
In Love Chapter 2 the bodies of three men and three women are androgynous. All six are clad in stone coloured leotards giving a near-illusion of nudity, which is shattered by their long black socks reminiscent of army boots.
All six perform the same movements with no distinction between men and women. Fingers grasp like claws, arms unfold into jerky punches, and in a thematic gesture dancers rub their midriff as if in pain. Sometimes they bend all the way back making themselves vulnerable; others they curl in on themselves as if to ward off aggression. These are anguished, occasionally dangerous, bodies.
The sound score, an insistent crescendo of repetitive electronic thumping performed live by Eyal’s regular collaborator Ori Lichtik, is of the kind that you feel in your sternum as much as hear with your ears. It creates a clubby atmosphere, especially appealing to younger audiences.
The lighting is unremittingly dim, because as a slightly garbled programme note tells us, this creation is about pain and loss, ‘a reason to cry’.
It is certainly hypnotic. Eyal is very good at creating shapes and patterns on stage. The dancers, isolated beings who never touch each other, evolve like a human wave, each sharply aware of the others. They sway and convulse, or march like an army, feet incessantly marking the beat, all the while gradually and almost imperceptibly creating new formations. One moment they’re a semi-circle surrounding a single individual; the next they’re in perfectly straight sideways lines of 3 - 2 - 1 and you’re not quite sure how they got there.
It’s all terribly clever and the dancers are superb, and for a while it completely holds your attention; but, like her previous work, there is a point beyond which the repetition ceases to engage and it all becomes a little same-y.
Nevertheless, Love Chapter 2, the second of two stand-alone pieces that make up Eyal’s Love Cycle (the previous one, OCD Love, premiered at Sadler’s Wells two years ago), is well worth seeing, and at 55 minutes straight through, an intense, if bleak, experience.
|L-E-V, Love Chapter 2 Review
|Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP
13 Jul 18 – 14 Jul 18, 19:30 Dur.: 1 hour no interval
|Click here to book via Sadler's Wells website