A group of 15 local dancers turned heads in Jerusalem as they made their way around the city, twisting their bodies into colorful human sculptures. The urban performance was part of this year’s Israel Festival, which features collaboration between international and Israeli artists.
During the performance, titled “Bodies in Urban Space,” Austrian choreographer Willi Dorner and dancers from Tel Aviv’s Maslool Professional Dance Program led a group along a site-specific walk around Jerusalem, in which they created physical compositions against a backdrop of urban architecture.
The tour started at Anna Ticho House and passed through the alleyways of Nahalat Shiv’a to King David Street, while the dancers formed various shapes and formations underneath a bus station, on top of a street bench, inside a window frame, and in other nooks and crannies around the city.
According to Dorner, who has been performing “Bodies in Spaces” in locations around the world for more than 10 years, the intention is to motivate the audience, passersby and residents to reflect on their urban surroundings and their own movement and behavior habits.
“A chain of physical interventions set up very quickly and only existing temporarily, allows the viewer to perceive the same space or place in a new and different way – on the run,” Dorner says of the performance.
As the bodies wedge themselves into the city’s overlooked public gaps and spaces, the audience is opened up to a new perception of their surroundings. Once the formation is assembled, it disappears just as fast as it came to be, and the dancers lead the audience to explore a new place in the city. Nothing is left behind except for a memory in the mind of the viewer.
Dorner first created “Bodies in Urban Spaces” performance in Barcelona before performing it at a festival in Paris. Since then, the performance has been in more than 110 cities around the world.