Ronit Ziv has been working as an independent choreographer since 1998. 'Tide' is her most recent work. “…inspired by the works of Bergman and Ibsen, it swings between imaginary worlds soaked with contrasting emotions, longing for peace and tranquillity, fakeness and pretentious, and craving for nature.” (programme notes)
I went to see tide at Teatron Tmuna, a place that I always love to step into and I wish I went to more often. It houses two small theatres, a stage for live music and a cosy bar. Tmuna often offers a place for up coming artists to perform and promotes more alternative work.
The set in the black box theatre was a single clothing line of colourful clothes hanging high up, almost near the ceiling. The piece begins with a guitar and vocal solo by one of the dancers. Her voice was cute and the song melancholic, but she should probably stick to dancing. Ronit then makes her first appearance with an athletic solo that she performs with ease and grace. It is entirely true to her personal style that flicks from theatre to dance in an instant and incorporates lots of detail and floor work.
Her choreography is intricate and it often includess text. In this instance, Ziv makes a pause in her vigorous solo to address the audience with a quirky monologue mentioning clothing, air plane crashes, and haredim among other things. She then quickly jumps back into her solo. She really has a classic leading lady look and she clearly relishes the opportunity to express herself on stage.
In a dramatic moment the clothing line drops to the floor and we are presented with a row of clothes at the back of the stage. This prop didn’t really get used at all, except for the dancers picking up their costume changes from the piles of clothes. I had expected that such an apparent stage feature would be somehow incorporated in the performance.
A Trip to the Beach
Tide is made up of three sections that are pieces in their own right, but when put together “they make up a coherent piece examining the creativity processes, mentor- student relationships and the stage performer’s state of mind” (www.ronitziv.com). The second section was a duet making use of matkot rackets. The tapping of the rackets against each other and against the dancer’s bodies created an interesting soundtrack. That concept moved on to a dramatic duet where the characters were apparently arguing over a towel. It is possible that this section represented the mentor- student relationship, but I’m not certain.
Who Needs Clarity
In fact, I didn’t read the programme notes until after the show and so I quite honestly didn’t have a clue what the piece was about. I was enjoying it and I don’t feel the need to have a clear idea of what the narrative is. The third section featured a duet with a third dancer who arrives on stage with wet hair and gets sprayed with water by Ziv to appear wetter. This dancer initiated a performance using both text and movement. This female performer could match Ziv’s dramatic and physical skills. She also embodied the words and mastered the movement seemingly effortless. The duet was intense and a delight to watch. It followed the same tempo for a little too long, which resulted in the viewer watching it passively at the end, missing the finer details.
Ronit effortlessly masters the quick changes in dynamics and the movement takes her from standing to the floor in an flash, from one facial expression to another in a fleeting moment. Her conviction and comfort in her own performance is one of the main reasons to see her work. She is most certainly a ‘complete’ performer embodying so many things and characters with confidence. The piece is also very feminine, from the femininity of the movement and the costumes to the interpretation of the themes. The work seems inspired by the fabulous Pina Bausch and Ziv would definitely belong on stage in her works.