A lament for love
“Black Fairytale”, a dance creation by Yossi Berg and Oded Graf, is a meticulous but rough work.
The new work by Yossi Berg and Oded Graf, “Black Fairytale”, appears to be light and charming, but its undercurrent is a lament for love, for dreams, for that utopian, nostalgic place that has disappeared from the streets of our lives, for the ability to say no, for the good that we clearly knew was good, for everything that is not for sale, for freedom.
It all begins with a happy song full of schmaltzy new-age material: be strong, live the moment, keep looking forward – they all sing together, tightly bunched at the front of the stage. The joy reaches its climax just as the music ends, and each dancer goes on his way.
In general, in this work, quite a few words drive the body, and vice versa. One dancer relates a frightening childhood memory in which she climbs the Western Wall despite her mother’s warnings. Her desperate attempt to make her voice heard is so striking because throughout her narrative, the microphone into which she is speaking is held by another dancer who is constantly changing his position.
In another wonderful scene Berg goes through a series of probing questions: you watch the news, know what’s happening in Afghanistan, do you like the war in your country, are you Cinderella, do you support gay marriage, are you vegetarian, are you looking for happiness? To each question Berg gives one answer: “Yes”. He becomes a kind of automaton in order to gain that stupefying happiness, free of worries. As always, Berg’s body captures some essence, binds one with another, the harmer with the harmed, until we don’t know whether to hit him so he’ll wake up or to gather him to our lap and have mercy on him.
In the final scene, one of the dancers outlines the route of a maze using white tape. To the music of Ravel’s Bolero, they move one after another, each assuming a character from children’s fairytales. The stiffness of the march turns into a lyrical, trembling event, until we want this fairytale to continue forever.
This is a meticulous work that manages to preserve some raw roughness that avoids a final finish, and nibbles at the living flesh of the body and of personal memory.