I’ll be right back

“I’ll Be Right Back, choreographed by Iris Erez, and performed by Ayala Frenkel and Ofir Yudilevitch is a funny, tender work that examines myriad relationships – stage and life, self and other, public and private, love and work – with a movement language that is engaging and imaginative. It doesn’t hurt that Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations (I believe as interpreted by Glenn Gould) opens this piece as the audience gazes at an empty stage. In that stillness between one note and another, there is an invitation to look at the all-white stage and wonder about this platform and its meaning. Something happens when you place a person or object onstage (whether the stage is physical or virtual), it changes, acquires a different significance.

After an interval, the male dancer, Ofir, enters the auditorium and walks up the stairs to the stage. The female dancer, Ayala, follows soon after from the other side. Both are dressed in casual street clothes, T shirt and loose pants. As they move individually on the wide stage, each in a different physical place, they engage in the everyday conversation of couples: What are you doing today? Want to meet later? Hummus? The physical distance and difference in movement between the dancers heightens the humor and recognition of this desire and effort to maintain intimacy in a crowded world. In movement and text, Ofir and Ayala both deliver a compelling performance that instantly draws one in, together and apart they are wonderful to watch.

As one who is familiar with Erez’s previous works, often focusing on themes of borders and difference, it was interesting to recognize signature movement, yet discern a difference. The movement language in this work that is so much about relationships is rounder, softer, with more curves and spirals, more room to breathe. Visuals by Daniel Landau and an excellent soundtrack augment the work and allow associations to reverberate. The juxtaposition of “dance” intervals, when this couple is simply dancing together as any couple might at a party, with a diverse and imaginative array of bodies coming together in different combinations of connection and mis-connection conveys the complexities of relationships in a way that is at once very entertaining, yet nuanced and replete with associations. There are many poignant moments. One recurring motif is the physical image of searching for someone who is right there, yet somehow unseen or hiding. Whether a headstand meets a back bend, one is riding on the other’s back, or they embrace head to head, one cannot help but feel the tensions, desires and absurdity of it all.”

(Ayelet Dekel, “Contemporary Dance and Peanut Butter Sandwiches”, Midnight East, 25.11.2014)