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An evening of pure contemporary dance, a rare site to see in the Berlin sector

by Angela Fegers 17.01.024


Israeli choreographer Roni Rotem and British choreographer Cree Barnett Williams treat Berlin to a night of authentic contemporary dance- a rare site to see within the Berlin dance community, at the cosy black box theater in the heart of Friedrichshain, at Neue Bühne Friedrichshain. 


Roni Rotem’s latest work LIONESS opens the Split Bill evening with her first premiere back in the Berlin sector after switching her base temporarily to Israel. The performance begins with an empty, dimly lit stage. Two unused wooden chairs on opposing sides of the room, a pair of white socks draped over the top of both of them and two white pairs of sneakers courting the exterior of the stage. 


Mesmerising performers Michal Rotman and Roni Uzan Aharony enter the space inviting the audience to witness an intimate opening scene. A grasp, a longing- bodies entangled in each other. It’s not clear who is holding who. A delicate and euphoric guitar soundtrack unfurls itself, original music by musician Dekel Bor, as the dancers begin to slowly separate from each other. They enter a trance-like state filled with  focus and determination. Their movement is precise and connected. This work was skillfully planned and crafted by meticulous and technically driven choreographer, Roni Rotem.  LIONESS  presents conceptual community through precise dance phrases muddled with intimate moments of human compassion-those that ache, celebrate, mourn, question and wait. 


Gestural abrupt movements interrupt grounded physicality as the dancers continue their opening duet without making eye contact one single time. 


As the work progresses dance phrases develop and transform into dynamic partnering, the dancers executing abstract concepts of hope and longing in their performance.The choreography leads the viewer effortlessly into new dramaturgical scenes. Rotman and Uzan hold each other accountable for support. As we witness the two performers assisting each other with human esc behaviour through the lens of a choreographer: helping one another put on a pair of socks in an artistic way. The lights open up the space as ethereal music crescendos, the work comes to a close.


LIONESS displays a masterful blend of precision and emotion, drawing the audience into a world of intimacy and connection. Rotem expertly captured the complexities of human relationships, leaving a lasting impression with poignant moments of vulnerability and strength.



ELEFANTIN


A mockery of our beloved Barbie, Cree Barnett Williams presents ELEFANTIN, to close the evening of the Split Bill on Sunday evening. 


A duet, with skilled dancers Alessia Ruffolo and Cree Barnett Williams, consisting of a spontaneous playlist, Barbie’s mid life (closing life) crisis, an explanation of mansplaining. The work by Williams is no less than an expert example of the kind of contemporary dance I prefer to watch. Disjointly/ beautiful- a combination of technique and physical wit. Facial expressions included, these two were a powerful pairing- the duo took the audience for a euphoric visual  rollercoaster ride through dance.


We witness Barbie at her highs, her lows, trying to understand how to walk in high heels (or at least pretend to) and how to deal with Ken… The two performers dressed in skimpy clad outfits reminiscent of a corset and black underwear, take over the space with their high energy execution of movement. 


 Williams' "ELEFANTIN,"  offers  a refreshing and thought-provoking take on societal norms and gender stereotypes. Through clever use of humor and satire, Williams challenged conventional ideas surrounding femininity and identity, inviting the audience to question the absurdity of expectations placed on women.



The evening of the two pieces was a testament to the power of contemporary dance as a medium for self-expression and social commentary. Both Rotem and Williams showcased their exceptional talent and creativity, leaving the audience inspired and eager for more.




Learn more about Roni Rotem and Cree Barnett Williams.

Photos L to R Omri Ben David + Daniel Montenegro

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