“A substantial part of the choreography evolved from our research into shared physical memories and experiences that we call home. We tried to figure out what is our common “ABC”; the basics of those notions that exist already in our body and movements.”
Interview with Lior Lazarof & Chen Nadler about their new piece “ABC and the study of stars”
After a long time when you lived distant from each other you decided to create a dance piece together. What did connect you then, and why did you find it important to realize a dance piece about this relationship?
Chen & Lior: For a very long time we have been thinking about creating something together. At the moment when our roads of life naturally crossed, we felt it was the right time to research this topic. We were both dancing and taking part in choreography classes from a young age together, and the idea of diving into this collaboration after all these years excited us. Going into this process, not exactly knowing what each can bring was a travel to the unknown but with a sense of home. Though we have lived in different cities and countries for the past 8 years, and have had our different dance related experiences, our friendship remained strong and grew.
Our feeling is that “home” is not a question of geography, but a feeling, in a sense that we are home to each other, in a way that consumes, holds and treasures all of our shared past and memories, and yet, with a lookout to the future.
Mutual understanding is natural to us, both in real life and in studio life. Though we haven’t been dancing together for 8 years, the basic seed of connection and communication that kept this relationship going still exists, despite all changes life has served us independently. Each of us, in her own way, had evolved and developed her skills, and our purpose was also to acknowledge what we have to offer to the collaboration in the living moment.
What were your dreams that separated you for years? What did you search for, and what did you gain?
Lior: For me, after studying in Mate Asher School for Performing Arts and serving in the military, I felt the need to enter a program which can offer multiple possibilities. I began my 3-year studies at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, where I could focus not only on Dance Performance but also on Choreography and Dance Education. After earning B.Dance degree and a teaching certificate from the Israeli Ministry of Education, I decided to change the scene and try my luck in Hungary, following the dream of expanding my movement research to new horizons. The beginning was a struggle for me, arriving to a new country, with a strange language and different culture. Thankfully I could find my way by the help of local organisations including Gyula Berger from Zeroplus, Anikó Rácz from SIN Cultural Center and Márta Ladjánszki from L1 Association of which I’m a member now. The most significant aspect of leaving Israel and being away from all I know and what I am used to, was realising that within the many directions you can take in dance, I have the strongest desire for physical research and choreography. Thanks to this realisation I could progress and develop my career in a clear direction. I started to focus on developing my own body of work, creating, and traveling to international festivals and residences all over Europe, exploring and sharing my works. I gained independence, freedom, and most importantly: mental flexibility. To be anywhere, to do anything and to be who I want to be.
Chen: My thoughts in the past years were to dance in the Israeli dance scene, to work and learn different techniques from different people. During those years I’ve always wanted to create, but felt more the need to learn from the people around me. I felt there was still no space for my personal creation, as a right thing. I was looking for my personal way of expression within every working process I took part in. I’ve been dancing in a dance company for 3.5 years with different choreographers. By working with several people I could absorb different qualities. During my last year in the company I worked a lot with improvisation techniques which brought me to a point of truly understanding my body and its complexity, and approach it as a wise tool of expression. More than anything, it is my way of expression. When I create I have a feeling of truth. This year, I strongly felt it is the time for me to find the language of my own body. And now there is much more space in my life for my creativity and my own choreographic work.
How do you look back to the work in progress of ABC and the study of stars? Could you tell us a story or feeling that was essential for you during this period, and became a substantial part of the choreography?
Chen & Lior: As we see it, “ABC and the study of stars” doesn’t reach a dead end. It is important for us to keep the work alive, in a way that it responds to changes as we experience them. Looking back to the recent process, we can say it was an honest one. At the beginning of the creation period we took part in a residency in Croatia where we had the time to be completely engaged in the creation, just the two of us in a tiny remote town. In that way we spent so much time together, taking walks in the woods, preparing dinner together, dancing, warming up, going out for a drink. This is all part of our process that focuses on our connection and relationship, which is visible also on stage.
A substantial part of the choreography evolved from our research into shared physical memories and experiences that we call home. We tried to figure out what is our common “ABC”; the basics of those notions that exist already in our body and movements. At the same time we also researched into who we are now, how does each experience herself and the other. “The study of stars”; what is endless for us, what moves us forward and what is always questionable.