January 24, 2019
An eerie light veils the still backs of L-E-V’s six dancers who face upstage left at the beginning of Sharon Eyal’s “Love Chapter II” presented at The Joyce Theatre. The hard pulse of techno beats counters the meditative quiet of the male and female dancers barely clad in gray one-strap leotards and dark knee socks. They slowly glide one toe on the floor with a bent knee. Arms stretch, hyper extending, behind their heads.
The choreography evolves into constant motion with the dancers never leaving the stage, nor their space within the group, nor the mood of stoic resignation. The dancers in second position plie look out to the audience as waves of unknown forces from stage right seem to ripple their torso and arms. Their feet never leave the floor for an extension or a jump. Occasionally, the dancers skitter sideways on their toes, their legs in parallel.
Each dancer (Gona Biran, Rebecca Hytting, Mariko Kakizaki, Darren Devaney, Keren Lurie Pardes, Clyde Emmanuel Archer), stuns us with the clarity of their attack. Kakizaki and Archer are particularly memorable, not only in their short solos, but the locking isolations executed intermittently. In the long phase continuing to the end, the dancers follow an invisible X on the stage like a flock of high stepping models, throwing blank faces to the audience.
In 2013, Eyal launched L-E-V with her long-time collaborator Gai Behar. Eyal danced with the Batsheva DanceCompany from 1990- 2008 and started choreographing within the framework of the company’s Batsheva Dancers Create project. Love Chapter II was performed with live music by DJ Ori Lichtik, and highly affective lighting by Alon Cohen. A welcome reprieve from the techno comes in the last third of this fifty-five minute work with the voice of Jose Larraide-Quimey Neuquen singing “Chancha via Circuito.” However, that sweet sound does not lift the spirits of the dancers who plod on like trapped. enlisted soldiers.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deirdre Towers