Ten dancers dressed in plain clothes, as if they’ve just walked in off the street, walk purposefully onto the stage and begin to dance. When they enter the house lights are still up, but they darken as the white-noise music composed by artistic director Emanuel Gat becomes audible.
Emanuel Gat Dance is making their US debut with Brilliant Corners this week at the American Dance Festival. This short work has an authentic and organic feel. Gat says that the dancers fully participate in the creation of the dance, and that comes across in the movement. There is never the sense that they are “putting on” to convey an idea. The idea is alive as they dance; it is being generated and conveyed honestly as it occurs.
Adding to the honesty are the plain clothes costumes. Each dancer is dressed differently, but each in ordinary clothes. This allows the job of expression to rest entirely on the dancers and the dance.
The dancers are technically strong and interesting. Different influences and individual style are apparent in the dancers, but they mesh together seamlessly as a single entity, as well. The honesty in the creation of the work, from the studio to the stage, allows a connection between the dancers, important to a down-to-earth-work such as this.
The harsh, non-melodious music creates a boundary between the dancers and the audience. The boundary is overcome eventually, when they dance in silence, inviting the audience to become more intimately involved in the relationships on the stage.
Brilliant Corners is an artistic work that makes the process of creation transparent and real. Described by themselves as being “built around an intimate confidence in the capacity of the choreographic process to invent structures which hold fundamental truths,” this piece successfully demonstrates that capacity. At times the dance feels more like a classroom exercise in structured improvisation than a staged performance. But Emanuel Gat is an artist willing to take risks in the creative process, and one who fosters an environment for artists to make discoveries of their own.
You can still see Emanuel Gat Dance at the Durham Performing Arts Center Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm.
by Denise Cerniglia