History was Written by the Losers

Here’s a really rough translation of a review by Orah Brafman

About three years ago, we became acquainted with a pair of dancers / creators who broke into the local dance field, a duo with no equivalent in the local scene, who managed to carve a unique niche in several ways.

The first exposure began about three years ago with a surprising duet called "Because We Love You". This duet celebrated the opening of a new chapter in the lives of the two experienced dancers, Tamar Lamm and David Kern. The two met in Paris, where they worked together. They parted ways, but the memory remained. Almost twenty years later, they clung to each other. David Kern, who retired from the stage after many years of being part of William Forsythe's group, moved to Israel.

They have since managed to create three more works in which they have continued to establish their own artistic language, which does not echo the current environment. In 2017, they created "Dog walkers" and a year later, "At The Foot of The Vanishing Table”, works nourished by wild imagination, original thinking and a unique environment in the aesthetics.

Within a relatively short period of time, it turned out that, despite the open-framed and wild-looking works, there is a solid artistic concept and a personal imprint behind them. You can already say with confidence that they created an independent "island", a kind of autarky farm that draws something from the absurd theater, from some characteristics associated with the Wild West films, from a nomadic existence that belongs in its being, among other things, to one of the social streams that fight pig-like consumerism, and a construction that William Forsythe dealt with in his works.

The current work was joined by another dancer, Tilman O'Donnell, a former dancer in Cullberg Ballet and a dancer in Forsythe's band for years.

The title of the work - "Hoedown Showdown" - literally means: square, rhythmic and turbulent dance whose structure is based on a dynamic square. The Hoedown dances are American social dances that survived from the early colonial period and were mainly distributed in the southern United States. The term 'showdown' is commonly used in the card-reveal stages at the crucial moment of the game, or in the sense of a crucial confrontation, as here.

The show took place at the Shidlowski Hall in the Tel Aviv Museum, where viewers sat along three of the four walls of the hall as the dancers performed in the center. The first image opens to Lamm, wearing jeans and leather boots as she shaves O’Donnell who’s mumbling some song not looking worried.

David improvises free space-focused cruising with his long stride and loose arms and, frankly, he looks a little drunk. He puts two slices of bread in the toaster on a small dining table in the center of the hall. The three of them sit down and begin to elaborate on guitars and ukulele and start singing in a slightly southern accent, a series of rhyming, juicy short songs. Although the chorus texts are varied, the melody that accompanies them is the same. Their playing sequence is rolling and mesmerizing as they are led by the sounds of the strings and spiced with a pair of spoons simulating castanets. It seems like a rippling stream that collects on its way from all over.

In a break between one song and the other, the three take turns eating soup from a can heated on the toaster by David, the efficient and practical factor of the group.

Asked if this is a show that is imprisoned in a Contemporary Dance Container setting, or is it part of a dance theater that uses objects and stage accessories or this an amorphous and fun type that sews random movement, performance and musical, there is really no answer and who cares at all.

In front of us are three skilled performers. Each has a respectable mileage and each gives the work a different shade. All the enjoyment from O’Donnell, perhaps the youngest of the group, the heavy weight Tamar Lamm and David Kern provide, and each one utilizes his personal strengths well in the present. Lamm undergoing a process of personal transformation and liberation, finding voices she had not known before and David Kern, whose entire conduct was supposedly needed, was a calculated cover for an exploration of the most pointed, intelligent, and challenging senses.

Under the guise of meeting friends, a social satire was formed in front of our eyes, shattering hierarchies in the margins of which has a nostalgic history whose only existence is in an invented world, offering its cute and precious reality, an alternative to those who prefer to close their eyes to a world on the verge of disintegration.

And so the creators wrote contrary to popular belief: "History was written by the losers."

According to them, "the work comes to collapse linear story structures and presents in their place a new history that is not supported by facts, but by hidden logic and imaginative landscapes.”