Tetris – reviews
"Noa Dar can make us feel like parts in a Tetris Game. In a breathtaking way, she succeeds to apply the principle of interactivity, as it expressed in computers’ media culture”
– Frankfurter neue presse, "Munstersche Zeitung.de", Germany, September 2009
"The fact that during the show, we exposed to the looks of the other spectators and of the protagonists, is a result of the genius concept of this work: the removal of boundaries between public and private spaces, is possible with the radical change in perspective that this performance allows" "Noa Dar's body images developed an unusual momentum. After 80 minutes, viewers are smiling to each other because they have passed along an extraordinary aesthetic experience.It does not happen much in Dance – theater performances."
– "Frankfurter Allgemeine", Germany, September 2009
Y para el final, lo más genial que he visto sobre las tablas en mucho tiempo, "Tetris", puesta en escena dirigida por una eximia coreógrafa israelita que da su nombre a la compañía, el NOA DAR Dance Group. Desde la entrada al zaguán del Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, todo es original y afectuoso. De partida, te hacen sacar los zapatos para medirte y ver cuál es la altura adecuada de la banca en la que te sentarás.
Al traspasar la primera barrera, te enfrentas a una tarima descubierta en su parte inferior, lo que viene a ser el foso del escenario que es donde hacen que el público se ubique. Te sientas en la banca que te entregaron en la entrada, la que debe ser colocada en unas precisas marcas. Encima, un agujero. Todo esto mientras una coqueta voz femenina sacada de alguna película futurista, te da instrucciones, y los actores se mueven entre medio en una suerte de actuación y calentamiento previo a la vez. Y todo sigue siendo original. En lugar de pedirle a los espectadores que "tomen asiento", el mandato es "ponerse de pie". Así comienza uno de las situaciones más especiales que he vivido como espectador. Al ponerme de pie en la banca y meter la cabeza por el agujero, por primera vez asomaba mis narices a ras de piso en un escenario, encontrándome con las cabezas al mismo nivel de los demás espectadores que empezamos a reír al vernos.
En adelante, un grupo de bailarines que, al ritmo de una música electrónica en su punto, simplemente se luce con cuadros cargados de alegorías a las relaciones de pareja, al sexo, a la soledad, a la muerte y a otros variados tópicos que son presentados casi encima de ti, o al nivel tuyo, a poquísima distancia, en una representación que, comparándolo con el cine, lleva el primer plano y el plano detalle al escenario teatral. Movimientos que hacen pensar en la danza butoh y posturas que parecen ser sacadas del yoga, los poros de los chicos sudando, la piel mojada con el agua-llanto de la menuda bailarina, los moretones de la trigueña, o los hermosos ojos de la rubia, son vistos a sólo centímetros, rompiendo la distancia clásica de la relación asiento-escenario. Es genial, atractivo, emocionante, hermoso… original. Una obra que se ve parado, al nivel de los pies de unos cuerpos que danzan armónicamente y que se arrastran para unir Tel Aviv y Santiago con las miradas.
– Denis Leyton, "Imaganes & Letres", Chile, January 2008
"Finally, the most Ingenious work I have seen for a long time: TETRIS, a stage creation directed by an exceptional Israeli choreographer. From the moment you enter the Museum of Contemporary Art, everything is original. The Group of dancers that move to the sounds of electronic music excelled in creating intensive allegory images concerning couples relationships, sex, loneliness, death and other themes that are presented almost above you. If to make a comparison to Cinema – Tetris brings the close-up view to the theatrical stage. The sweat of the male dancers, the wet skin of the tinny dancer, or the beautiful eyes of the blond girl… It is Ingenious, attractive, beautiful, exciting and original. A work you will never forget”
– Denis Leyton, "Imaganes & Letres", Chile, January 2008
“TETRIS by the Israeli dance group of Noa Dar is one of the most innovative performances to ever being presented on the stages of Santiago a Mil. The atmosphere combines ritual glory with tranquility. The music is gentle, light is dim and on the stage – variety of angels utilized: up, down and forward. A clamming feminine voice guides the 69 spectators. Everybody participate actively. The work is called TETRIS for the movements use all stage's surfaces possible, like in the game by the same name. There is no linear story, only sensations that keep the audience attentive and alert all the time. The group involves modern dance with theater. The facial expressions are essentials for interoperate the physical movements of the dancers. The performers look into the eyes of the spectator who locked in cages and jump over their heads. The music is loud in your ears, the stage trembles strongly until you fear that it would fall down, but the whole experience is very well designed”.
– Maria Paz Elgria, "EL MERCURIO", Santiago, Chile, January 2008
“The goal that led the creators was to examine artist – spectator’s relations, while giving the spectators an innovative experience of viewing a performance that takes a laboratory shape. The goal was achieved above and beyond, as seen in theses performances where the performers dance only centimeters away from the spectator’s heads.”
– Javier Eibkcha, "LA SEGUNDA", Santiago, Chile, January 2008
It’s no wonder that "Tetris" (2006) premiered at the Acco Festival for Alternative Theater, or that it won a prize there. This collaboration between choreographer Noa Dar and visual artist Nati Shamia-Opher shapes the performance space into the most alternative set-up that I have ever witnessed, and it left its mark on my mind when I saw it last year.
I heard about Tetris soon after arriving in Israel and eagerly looked forward to seeing a staging in Tel Aviv at the Noa Dar Studio. I was familiar with the the chosen location because I had taken several contemporary technique classes there – but when I arrived for the performance November 10, 2007, I found the studio cleverly transformed. Tetris‘s treatment of the spectator-performer relationship in this redesigned space is so unique that I would like to describe a bit of it below:
As Tetris begins, each audience member enters the studio individually, stepping onto a stool surrounded by a small booth and sticking his or her head through hole in the top; it is as if each person is a block about to be dropped into the classic video game called “Tetris.” Next, spectators receive their own stools, join a line of other viewers, and then – once the line is complete – they are ushered by dancers to move their stools to a grid underneath a large wooden hut with rows of holes in the roof. All the while, two dancers maneuver underneath and on top of the structure. Once the entire audience is seated underneath the hut, we are instructed to stand on our stools and poke our heads through the holes. This action is accompanied by a lot of twittering: all of a sudden we are disembodied, with our necks surrounded by the cut-out holes and our heads protected by wire domes. It is strange indeed to look around and only see heads!
Standing in the midst of the structure, with our heads poking up into what is now the “stage,” we are the ultimate spectators even as we become the objects of other audience members’ gazes. Our role in the event grows more complex with the entrance of the performers. The six dancers begin slowly, prowling on top of the hut, looking intently at us, sliding across the space on their bellies, and occasionally drawing so close that their body parts are directly in our faces. We watch, and we are watched. With our own disembodiment – and from this perspective, with our spectating eyes mere inches above the floor – the performers’ bodies assume an extraordinary power. To see moments of intimacy, desire, and violence from this angle is something else altogether.
– Deborah Friedes Galili, "Dance in Israel", April 2008
"Tetris is a performance that succeeds to affix an imprint on the soul".
– Ruth Eshel, "Ha'aretz", April 2007
"Tetris is an innovative creation that creats a unique language, checking borders and challenging spectators and performers alike. No doubt it is the creation of the year, maybe of the decade, in Israeli dance. "
– Gal Alster, "Time-Out Tel Aviv, June 2007
“Tetris is a spectacular creation, releasing from the body excitement and shock, causing turbulent and mind stimulating interactions between dancers and spectators”.
– Michal Ba’adani ,"City Mouse Online", October 2006
“Unconventional and compelling, Tetris has the potential to be an important piece with lasting impact both in Israel and abroad”
– Ora Brafman, “The Jerusalem Post”, October 2007
Upon her return, Dar helped found the Tamar Dance Company. "That was where I really started to choreograph because our premise was to not have a single artistic director but to all work together in collaborative pieces." After three years, Dar went to Paris for two years to dance and study. This time, when she returned, she started work on her own creations.
In 2000, she was hired by the Holon Municipality to create performances, including one a year for children. "Dance for children is another world, and that opened up new experiences for me and was a learning process," Dar says. After five years in Holon, Dar started to search for a studio of her own.
"I got a grant from the America Israel Cultural Foundation, and I found a home in Tel Aviv in 2006. I started choreographing creations for festivals all over the world with my dance troupe. We've been to dance and theater festivals in Japan, Korea, Europe, and Portugal." Until recently, Dar did not have a permanent home, and Tetris is the first production of her own in the new studio.
Dar says she wanted to create a work that would include audience participation. "Today's world is so interactive. There is involvement and change in every game we play, everywhere we go. Tetris is a response to how society is now," she explains.
To encourage maximum audience participation, the spectators are constantly offered choices – where to sit, where to look and where to stand. "You can't see everything from the perspective we give you, so each individual has to decide what to watch when, and where to stand. This is part of what builds the experience – the element of choice."
Dar's inspiration for this departure came from both a deep reaction to the standard "positions" of watcher and watched and the reality of life in today's world. "I wanted an interaction with life, not just with virtual screens. Reality shows are constantly exposing people in their private lives, and giving the media permission to invade. I was playing with this and trying to renew the experience of real life, touches and smells instead of screens."
She also wanted to explore psychological elements and challenge people to examine their own boundaries with intimacy. "Each person stands in his own hole and the dancers get very close and stare intentionally. For some people, the intimacy is overwhelming. Some people feel too exposed. But no matter what, people have strong reactions. An Internet forum to discuss reactions to Tetris has even been proposed."
The production has been overwhelming for Dar, who attends every performance. "I don't know where to go from here. Where do you go after such a creation?" she asks.
After completing such a huge, collaborative work that involved the seven dancers in her company, musicians and a plastic artist, Dar says that returning to working alone is helping her stay focused. "I haven't performed in seven or eight years, and right now I'm going back to the basics, back to the language of my own body."
Before starting to work on the next piece, she says she will give herself the time she needs to recover and replenish. "Tetris was perfect for my own studio because it's a small, intimate production and only 69 people can see it at one time. But in the future, I don't know where things will be performed. I don't know what the next production holds, but we're hoping that foundation grants will allow us to take Tetris abroad."
– Meredith Price, "The Jerusalem Post", April 2007
“No doubt, this is an exciting performance, giving a unique and fascinating experience”.
– Dana Gilerman, "Ha'aretz", October 2006
“The joint creation of choreographer Noa Dar and plastic artist Natti Shamia-Ofer, offers a different viewpoint which is altered by the occurrences on the stage. The “peeping” idea which stands behind the brilliant production, the assorted ensemble of the participating dancers broadens the opportunities held by the concept.”
– Meirav Yodelvitz, “Ynet”, November 2006
“The view is mesmerizing, more “Matrix” than “Tetris”: the giant white boardfrom which poke out tens of cut-off heads, giggling and winking, it is a surreal feeling. This human landscape is exceptional. Everyone, tramples’ and trampled, felt relieved at the third and exciting part of the performance.”
– Eitan Bar Yossef, “Achbar Ha’ir”, October 2006
“Dar decided to break with conventions of the dance world’s outlook and to construct them anew. This is a true celebration – all you need is to loosen your conventions, take a deep breath and enjoy the abundance surrounding you”.
– Itay Mautner, “NRG” January 2007