Deganit Shemy & Company at Danspace

Deganit Shemy dancers, photo by Yi-Chun Wu

Israel-born choreographer Deganit Shemy presented two premieres at Danspace Project over the weekend.  Aggression, vulnerability, desire, and power were evident in both all-female works.  In Blink, a trio for Erika Eichelberger, Denisa Musilova, and Savina Theodorou, the dancers were frequently silenced by others’ actions.  Words were muffled as a dancer spoke into the stomach of another, and Tei Blow’s sound design created industrial noise that drowned out the dancers’ voices.  Legs slapped brutally against the wood floor, or became entangled with other limbs.  There was common pain, but the women’s varying costumes and distinct facial expressions – though they all, at one point or another, stared fiercely at the audience – distinguished them as individuals.

round 2, a longer piece for five women, built on the themes in Blink, but was less convincing and eventually numbing.  Wearing colorful athletic attire and working around and within a square space defined by red tape, there were more muffled words and violence.  The sound included cheers, street noise, and onstage metronomes set at varying speeds.   Sporadic fits of laughter were insincere, but the wrestling was not.  As the dancers violently slammed into one another, it was clear that this was not just a match to determine winners from losers.  Within the confines of the red tape, these women fulfilled their most primitive and destructive urges.  Yet round 2 still felt restricted – both physically and emotionally – and uncertain of its intent.  The ending was richly textured as the dancers created waves of tranquil, undulating movement spread across the floor, but the audience never learned the outcome of the match.  Round 3, it seems, is inevitable.

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