The dancers were as if eerily unhuman, their characterization, through bound-flow contorting and twitching completely captivating. House, the 55-minute work by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar, literally brought down the house. While the dancers performed utterly grotesque shapes, lines, and facial gestures, the unity, variety, repetition, and contrast of elements were eloquently sequenced. The dancing was impeccably organized, detailed, focused, and driven with bone and muscles rippling, abdomens bulging, and spines coiling. The audience was taken on a journey to another world, led by seven part-human-part-insect-beings. These creatures were devised using the changing form of body, time, mode of locomotion, minimal use of weight sensing, sleek, form-fitting costumes, and pulsing music. Torsos undulated, bulged, hollowed, sunk, rose, oozed, twisted, and hyper-extended. Limbs reached, flexed, rotated inward, and quivered. Heads bobbled and eyes were fixated. Successive flow rippled through dancers’ joints from an internal mission, a mission that evolved gradually throughout the piece. The beings seemed to be visiting from another world or, quite possibly, two unknown species were interbreeding to evolve into a new life form.

House begins with loud mechanical-sounding music. The stage is set with black curtains, with a passage in the middle wide enough for seven dancers ( Leo Lerus, Gon Biran, Sharon Eyal, Keren Lurie Pardes, Douglas Letheren, Rebecca Hytting, and Domenic Santia) to all emerge.

© Gadi Dagon
© Gadi Dagon
A soloist in a shiny, black, slick, skin tight costume signaled the beings to emerge and served as the segue between three sections of the piece. The beings, in cream colored, sheer, body-revealing costumes, oozed out from behind the curtains, moving in slow motion with interspersed sudden accents in the torso and limbs. Bodies assumed extreme shapes while spines gnarled like the roots of a tree. All seven beings were on high alert, with eyes clearly focused, almost as if cast in a spell. At times dancers grouped in steadfast formations in circles and duets to assume their territory and engage in their purpose. To prepare their task, they used a drone-like, weight sensing, ultra-deep, wide plié and a lateral weight shift back and forth. When the group travelled as one, the steps were teeny and soft, padding the earth, as if charged with a mission to accomplish a vital task that takes patience. Beings wiggle, gesture, repeat. Dancers pair off, cry out and punch the air, paw with hands that reach and wrists that flick. They become sneaky. Dancers come and go... Eventually, one male appears wearing a dark gray costume, spiked heels, and a hat, another dark thigh high socks, and a third, bare-chested, is clad in dark tights. Dancers silently mouthed words, but we know not what they said. The man in heels was carried slowly downstage.

The mission continued, and two beings, one in white and one in dark gray are seen in flagrante dilecto. The creatures depart upstage and return, now all clothed in dark gray. Some sort of evolution has occurred that warrants full body axial and locomotor movements in unison for the first time to surging drumming music. Beings were in formation, almost celebratory in their delivery of clear, outwardly focused energy with arc-ing arms that seek softer shapes with hands sensing in the near kinesphere. All but two males disapear. The two revealed sensitivity through self-touch and calmness downstage center. With palms facing down and wide port de bras, they traveled with piqué-coupé phrases to the opposite wings, thus completing the mating event and clearing the space of all evidence of the act. Stunning. Ovation.

© Christopher Duggan
© Christopher Duggan
The ensemble was infectiously gripping, staying impeccably in character, revealing sensitivity and creativity with each phrase and accent in both movement and music. Sharon Eyal, who was a member of Naharin's Batsheva Dance Company for 18 years and Gai Behar, co-created House (for Batsheva) in 2011. Kudos must be granted to the artists whose designs were central to the realization of House. While the dancing in this piece is compelling in its own right, it is not separate from the collaborative design elements used to create the meaning and outcome of the concept development. The music, lighting, costuming and design were key components of the piece. The driving soundcape by Ori Lichtik forged us into feeling intensity with its percussive blend of rock, techno, drumming, text, and digital manipulation. The sensitively designed lights by Avi Yona Bueno, “Bambi”, created mystery and captured essence of movement upon the white and dark gray costumes in the cordoned space created by the black curtains. The cleverly simple, sleek unitards by Odelia Arnold were another keystone of the piece, revealing bodies, change, and evolution. Additional fashion was supported by Ma’ayan Goldman.