Dance Center captures sensation of movement


Lou Foglia

Dancers rehearse for upcoming show inside studio 300 at the Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave.

By Lauren Kostiuk

The Dance Center will present “Dance and Photography,” an evening of choreography and performances by Doron Raz and Idan Porges, a pair of Israeli artists-in-residence visiting through the Schusterman Foundation this spring.

The 8 p.m. April 11 performance at the center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., will include four short pieces choreographed by Raz and Porges and showcase performances by Hadar Katz, Anna Long and the Dance Center’s Spring 2015 Repertory Performance Workshop class.

“Off Stage,” a special Israeli dance photography exhibition created by Raz’s husband, Ascaf, will be unveiled before the 7 p.m. show. In his work, he challenges choreographers to take their dance off the stage and captures moving angles of the dancers’ bodies  in different environments.

“We are all interested in research about movement and quality on stage,” Raz said. “Nothing is political. It is mainly about the sensation of movement. I think this is what brings the evening together.”

The event will exhibit four pieces that all connect in their own way, Raz said, noting that the first piece is the students’ animalistic piece of nature that displays “moving tension and the dangerous sensation of hunting.” The following piece will be Raz’s solo performance, inspired by the research of movement and space in nature. The next piece is a love-inspired duet choreographed by Porges called “Too Hard to Handle.” The final piece is “Women of the World,” inspired by various world cultures and the way women’s bodies move and dance together. 

“It’s about going back to the original natural feel of everything,” said senior dance major Troinetta Burse. “Like how you move, how you move on the stage and how you are naturally there.” 

The Repertory Performance Workshop students meet three times a week for the class, according to Anna Levy, a junior dance major. They spent a third of the beginning of their semester mastering and perfecting Raz’s “gaga”-style piece—a new type of dancing style emphasizing body awareness—to be performed as a piece for the students’ spring finale, Levy said. 

Raz instructs the student dancers not only to watch the animals and mimic their motions, but also to bring the sensation of what they are feeling to the stage and to the central connection of the group, Levy said. 

“There [are] 12 of us, and being able to connect with everyone all the time can be challenging,” Levy said. “But once we get it, you can feel it. It is very exciting.”

At the event, the students will have the privilege to perform and interact with many professionals in the dance industry who are faculty, and are visiting dancers from different parts of the world.

“It’s an amazing opportunity,” Burse said. “It gets you ready for the real world. You get to see the process, and that is one thing I appreciated.” 

For most of the student performance, the dancers do not acknowledge that they are being watched and act like a pack of animals. At the end of the piece, they dramatically look out into the audience to acknowledge the crowd, according to Levy.

“I am really proud of the collaboration we have as a group,” Levy said. “I think that we all work really well together. It’s going to be good that we can all connect on the same level.”

Raz said the photography exhibit was created to add another layer to the evening. Ascaf’s goal was to escape the stage and enter a new world with choreographers that pulls together the meaning of dance and photography as one, Raz said.

“It’s less about the dance world, [and] it’s more about the story and the experience of location [for] each piece,” Raz said. 

It took Ascaf 10 years to compile a collection of his works and the works of other Israeli photography companies, according to Raz.

“I feel like the pictures will really bring out the animal sense, and the audience will be able to see what the goal is,” Levy said. 

Raz said she looks forward to the audience experiencing an evening of thought-provoking art and organic, coherent pieces. 

Tickets for the “Dance and Photography” event are available on the Dance Center’s website.