Love Cycle: Love Chapter 2

Created by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar.  L-E-V Dance Company. Sydney Opera House.  Jan 31 – Feb 3, 201.

Photo : Prudence Upton

After twenty-two years dancing and choreographing with Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, Sharon Eyal and her collaborator and partner, Gai Behar, formed L-E-V Dance Company in 2013, (lev is the Hebrew word for ‘heart’). Their work, with musician Ori Lichtik, has been performed at over 200 venues around the world, including a Christian Dior fashion show at a race course outside Paris in 2018, where eight dancers interacted with the models as they showcased the collection.

In OCD Love and Love Chapter 2, described in the program as “a double shot of tough love”, Eyal explores the heights of love and the depths of loss of love. Whilst the two play on consecutive nights, each stands alone as an innovative interpretation of the almost primeval complexities of love and relationships.

OCD Love, which premiered in 2016, is based on Eyal’s reaction American slam poet, Neil Hilborn’s “personal, funny, but crushingly sad” poem about the difficulties of loving someone with obsessive compulsive disorder.

The second, Love Chapter 2, is about the “devastating aftermath of a love affair”.

The sixty-minute long interpretation is performed by three female and three male dancers, dressed simply in thin, grey leotards and shin-high black socks. There is nothing simple, however, about their skill, or the control demanded by Eyal’s inventive and meticulously structured choreography. In time with the increasing pace, intensity and volume of Lichtik’s musical accompaniment, the dancers – lithe, slim, extremely fit and, necessary for this piece, incredibly flexible – express the devastating pain and heartache of broken love.

With muted lighting emphasising the grey gloom of emotional desolation, they move with impeccably controlled precision that emphasises Eyal’s ability to physicalise intimate emotions in original, imaginative choreography. Anguish, misery and anger are represented in movements that are tightly measured and exactly executed. Tension exudes in taut muscles, tight breathing, the pulsing tempo of Lichtik’s accompaniment – and in the fixed, silent appreciative attention of the audience.

L-E-V presents contemporary dance that is avant-garde, and therefore demanding and liberating, testament to the aim of the Opera House’s Contemporary Performance program that “champions modern story tellers and the mavericks who re-invent classic forms”.

First published in Stage Whispers magazine