Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tel Aviv Journal: The Real Opening Night

Ben Gurion Airport
Tel Aviv
May 15, 2012

Waiting for the call for UA85 to Newark, with a precious few hours of sleep, its almost possible to take in what the last few days have offered.

A dance company less than a year old doesn't get the chance to dance Paul Taylor, Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar in front of a sold-out 800+ seat theater for its opening night in Israel. On top of that, it never gets the chance to dance in that same theater for four nights consecutively, all sold-out. In all of CityDance's life we had only one four-night engagement ever, at DC's Dance Place, capacity 160. And we couldn't fill it. 

Killer Pig by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar
Here, Company E took a step we could never manage at CityDance, with work which is simply a dream, and the Company took home on the bus to the hotel the love of an entire auditorium. Amazing. 

As always, it seems, the craziest challenge was in the program order. Call it the curse of a repertory Company-- what piece goes next to what other, and where does intermission lie. We were still "talking" about it 90 minutes before curtain. 

But we got it right.

Not in too many places could you open with a work like "Last Look." At home we never could, but here, the audience comes in ready and they absorb the full impact of it right from the start. And to see if come alive with this cast was rewarding in indescribable ways. Milan, taking the final solo, is finding the soul of it, and you can feel it in the audience as he does it that they are moving with him. And it will only get better. 

For our presenter, the Bimot Agency, to take a chance on a complete unknown, and to give it nine concerts in six cities, and to have those houses full, is really simply a dream. 

I head home for two days for an engagement at the Department of State's training institute, the Foreign Service Institute, and Don Quixote programming meetings, and then head almost immediately back to Minsk. The Company stays in Israel, dancing and absorbing an amazing experience. 

Doesn't get better than this. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tel Aviv Journal: "Opening Night" (almost)

Tel Aviv
May 14, 2012

Tonight was supposed to be a quiet dress rehearsal evening as we prepared for opening night at the sold-out 800 seat Herzliya Performing Arts Center just north of Tel Aviv Monday night. But when the chance to let "a few" people from the northern Israeli community of Carmel by the Sea see the Company E program presented itself we said, "sure." The house seats 600 and at least 500 of those seats were filled for that "informal" dress rehearsal. 

Killer Pig by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar
The program of Paul Taylor's "Last Look," Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar's "Killer Pig," Kate Weare's "Scorched" and my "Falling" were all Israel premieres -- or "almost-premieres." And to have the audience keep applauding the audience to more and more bows was an amazing, amazing moment. 

Presenting Mr. Taylor's "Last Look" in a country that knows him so well, and to be the company that premieres it here is an honor that's hard to describe. And this is an audience that knows its dance. 

The entire company was ready tonight. Fantastic to watch from the back of the house and also fantastic to realize that, less than a year after the Company's founding, we're here in Israel on a nine-concert, six city tour through the first private presenter ever to pick up either CityDance or Company E. And that's after a two-week tour in Switzerland and Germany that ended just a few days ago. Kathryn and Alicia have done a great terrific job leading the company. 

More on the real opening night tomorrow, but what a great, great beginning.