… touching and discomforting.

…evoking strong and deep emotions for the viewer.

…shows that we all have the potential to be victims, or the opposite – criminals.

Dr. Lutz Behrens, Vogtland Anzeiger
לוגו וואלה גאווה
The show ends with each member of the audience led out of the theater and into the street by one of the dancers. After a work which is difficult to watch, it is a very fragile and humane moment, where all boundaries are deleted – between the dancer and the spectator, and between stage and life.
Walla! Pride
Xnet logo
I asked the dancers to read a book that deals with collective ego and shows how mass madness develops. Over time we entered an increasingly dark realm, without self-judgment… I also gave them missions to be an aggressor and a victim, that at times got out of hand. I filmed everything on video
Zohar Elia Turiel , Xnet


An intimate work, moving and profound, with outstanding performances by Oded Ronen and Ligal Melamed Reaching beyond the individual, it has an almost mythological feel. …a performance space that dares you to bare your soul in front of an attentive audience. Oded Ronen’s work investigates the most abstract concepts – identity, self, self & other, relationships, community, beliefs – in the most visceral, physical way. Taking apart and constructing, destroying and building, exploring the mythology of relationships, Capsule is a riveting emotional experience, marked by beauty and mystery.
Ayelet Dekel, Midnight East
Capsule is an intimate work with an outstanding performance which combines the most abstract concepts of identity, self, relationships, community and beliefs. It throws light on the essence of peace and how nonviolent co-existence ensures the survival of humanity. Even though it was a dance production, it painted a telling picture of the process of peace building.
Business Ghana
The piece is philosophical… it encompasses diverse notions including identity, relationships, community and beliefs among others. Employing classical virtuosity, they effectively combined contemporary sensibilities while unfolding a fascinating experience characterized by majesty and mystery. …equally about mutual discovery, tenderness and ecstasy that are beautifully articulated through the choreography. Undeniably, a great deal of energy emanated from the stage as the dancers moved with amazing ease.
John Owoo, Arts Ghana
…the piece is intense and carries passages of beautiful slow and sustained movement as well as more chaotic moments. [Bringing] synergy with a thought provoking and elegiac choreography carried out with unflagging energy and power of performers. …by far the standout performance of the night.
Rachel Nouchi, London Dance
While the movement is often graceful and athletic, the sense of flaw, of something not quite right, pervades this excellent piece. …as if to show the mending has been in vain. A sombre and moving close to a marvellous piece of contemporary dance. Each dancer has a moment to break away from the group into an energetic solo; like a body packed with energy it is struggling, desperately, to control… The central piece, and the standout piece of the night, is Oded Ronen’s “Kintsugi”.
Martin Thomasson, British Theatre Guide

…developed to highlight the purpose for building bridges to bring Ghana and Israel together. The piece also highlighted individual struggles and passion, and the collective power of working together. 

…the performance sought to promote community existence and international cohesion.

The Israeli Embassy in Ghana
The collective power of working together to build a bridge between two the cultures and …a language of movement that will connect between Israel and Ghana.
Ghana Web
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Oded Ronen: Glashäuser

by Dr. Lutz Behrens

14 June, 2019

vogtland anzeiger

Inge Yasuv

Glashäuser brings one to tears

Towards the end of the performance the theatre was empty and all viewers of the premiere, some with tears in their eyes, met again on the smaller stage of the theater in Plauen, Saxony. The ballet Glashäuser (translated Glass houses) by Israeli Choreographer Oded Ronen left a very strong impression.


On stage – three white define the borders of the stage, together with the white floor embrace the spartan and abstract vision of designer Silvio Motta, set and costume designer, as well as the video work in collaboration with Oded Ronen. The white background serves as a canvas for projection of different short films, evoking strong and deep emotions for the viewer, together with impressive music.


Also the eight female and male dancers (Judith Bohlen, Miyu Fukagawa, Shahnee Page, Justine Rouquart, Nicole Stroh, Juan Bockamp, Elliot Burke, Jeaho Shin(, are dressed in white suits, differentiated from each other only by black stripes. Different than them – the dancer Jeaho Shin, dressed in a suit, sits in a friendly manner in the audience in the first part of the work. He is among the group of six men and women who are randomly chosen and are asked, politely yet firmly, to sit on six chairs on wheels, dedicated to moving them around during the 80 minutes work, which creates intimacy with the dancers. The fact the Jeaho Shin afterwards takes off his suit to blend in with the rest of the dancers, shows that we all have the potential to be victims, or the opposite – criminals.


Ostracizing of another person, which can end with homicide, and being part of a specific group, are the subjects that Oded Ronen presents in his choreography, with convincing aesthetics and with changing and recurring variations, from a joyful dance in a circle to a harsh military march 


The show opens with touching and discomforting videos which concentrates in 3 short segments the disasters of the 20th century, Plauen serving as an example: The thriving city at the beginning of the 20th century (with its 105,000 inhabitants in 1905), continuing with the sortie of the allied forces bombers in the 2nd world war, dropping bombs on the city, destroying 75% of it by the end of the war.

Through parts of Smetana’s Moldova and cheerful Klezmer music incorporated in Mahler’s 1st symphony, along various other sound effects, Ronen finds a fitting way to express his ideas.  And every so often the music stops when female dancers recite different parts of national hymns.

The ambience becomes almost unbearable when a part of the Eichmann trial is projected, along the protocol on the floor in German. Hannah Arendt might have spoken of the banality of the embodiment of evil, yet here, Eichmann, as the accountant of death, gray and shrunken, shakenly sits on the accused bench awaiting his sentence. However the scene, where one of the witnesses collapses and is taken out of the courtroom, after he couldn’t take the unbearable memories, indicates the singularity of the German eliminatory anti-Semitic approach, and we are not talking about “bird droppings” (relates to a comment by Gauland, an AFD politician, which compared Hitler and the Nazi regime to a small stain in the context of the German history).

When looking at the printed program for the show and the dedication segment, the viewer can feel the magnitude of the horror: the double spread page serves as a belated dedication to Oded Ronen’s family of his mother’s side from Plauen, who were murdered in the holocaust. Next to each person’s cheerful photo from ordinary daily life, the shocking print: “murdered aged 2, 10, 14, 18” if only to name the children and teenagers.

Brecht said: Besser als gerührt sein ist, sich rühren, which means Better to get up and take action than only to be touched. Glashäuser  can contribute a lot in this aspect. And even if it is not to be anticipated the many of the AFD supporters (the extreme right wing party of Saxony) will come to this conclusion, for Plauen and its negative / damaged reputation since May 1st this year, this show came right on time.

Oded Ronen: Glashäuser


Source: Walla! Pride


 [Full link and English translation at the bottom of the page]

אנחנו מתעסקים יותר מדי בלשנוא

לאורך חיי נתקלתי לא פעם באנשים שתוקפים אחרים, אנשים שהם בקושי מכירים. לפעמים פיזית, לפעמים מילולית. אני רואה איך אנשים נתקפים פחד מכל מי ששונה מהם. הסיטואציות האלו הובילו אותי ליצור יצירה שעוסקת בשנאה לאחר“, אמר השבוע הכוריאוגרף הבינלאומי עודד רונן

מערכת וואלה! גאווה


השבוע יטוס רונן להציג את היצירה החדשה שלו, “בתי זכוכית” (על שם השקיפות שבה אנו יכולים להסתכל על עצמנו כחלק מחברה), אותה יצר עבור להקת המחול הרשמית של הערים פלאון וצוויקאו במזרח גרמניה. היצירה תעלה במשך שמונה ערבים שכל הכרטיסים אליהם אזלו. עם יצירתו האחרונה, “קפסולה“, רץ רונן בעולם כשהשיא היה כשהציג אותה בגאנה ולאחר יצר עבודה על 140 רקדנים ומוזיקאים אפריקאים.

היצירה רלוונטית ומדברת את ימינו אנו, דרך גרמניה של לפני 70 שנה. במופע משולבים קטעי וידאו בשיתוף עם ארכיון סטיבן שפילברג בארהב מהחינוך לעליונות הגזע הארי, ההסתה נגד היהודים בשנות השלושים וסחיפת ההמונים בדרך מחושבת ועקבית. כמו כן, משולבות תמונות של 17 בני משפחתו של רונן, שנשלחו מאותה פלאון, בה נולדו וחיו, אל מותם באושוויץ.

עודד, איך הגעת להופיע בפלאון?

הוזמנתי ליצור עבור להקת הבלט פלאון צוויקאו והייתי מאוד מופתע שזה המקום שמזמין אותי,
זו לא העיר הכי מוכרת בגרמניה אבל אני הכרתי אותה, פלאון הייתה מאוד דומיננטית בילדות שלי. המשפחה של אמא שלי משם וכל מי שלא עלה ארצה בשנות ה-30, נרצח שם, 17 במספר. הרגשתי תמיד ניתוק מכל זה, אולי בגלל שהשואה היא עצומה לעיכול, ואולי בגלל שלא היה אפילו ניצול אחד במשפחתי ששרד וסיפר ושדרכו ניתן היה להתחבר לצד ההוא במשפחה“.

נושא ליצירה לא היה בראשו עדיין, והוא החל לחפש אחריו. קודם החל להסתובב בשתי הערים כדי להכיר אותן ואת מזרח גרמניה. “הרגיש לי כפוי ליצור על השואה, אפילו בהקשר של המקום ושל המשפחה. כל הנושא של תיוג וקטלוג עניין אותי, ברמה הגלובלית ביותר שניתן, כולל התייחסות לאומות אחרות ובמיוחד לדברים שאני רואה בישראל.

באחד מהסיורים בפלאון הגעתי לבית הקברות היהודי ששרד וכשעמדתי מעל הקברים של סבא רבא רבא שלי וסבתא רבתא רבתא שלי, ידעתי שעליי לפענח משהו שורשי, את הקשר המורכב שלי, ולהביא אותו לבמה ברגישות רבה. היצירה מציבה שאלות על כל חברה, אז ובימינו, ומדברת ישירות אל הצופה ואל חייו. לאורך המופע ישנם רקדנים, גבר ואישה, שמודרים הדרגתית מהחברה, עד למצבים עוינים וקיצוניים ביותר. הם כמו כל גבר ואישה הקיימים בעולם ובטח עבור אלה שצופים במופע. תמונות בני המשפחה שנספו, המוקרנים בסוף המופע, מדגישות שהסכנה האנושית היא מוחשית, גם בימינו, גם בנו. היא בעצם אומרת זה אמיתי, זה לא תאורטי, זה קרה, וזה קרה כאן בפלאון, לאנשים כמוכם וכמוני.

אני חושב שבגלל שהיצירה היא בנושא גלובלי, ומביאה את השואה כדוגמה, הקהל מבין שאני לא בא להנציח את העוול ההיסטורי ואת תפקידם כ תוקפים“, אלא להפך. עד כמה שזה יישמע אבסורדי, בעיסוק בשנאת האחר הקיים כמעט בכל מקום בימינו בצורה מחרידה, השואה עבורי, היא הדוגמה הקיצונית ביותר לאן החפצת האחר יכולה לקחת אותנו. אני מרגיש פגיעה עמוקה כבן אדם, יותר מאשר כיהודי, ולכן היצירה היא גלובלית ולא על השואה.

השהייה בערים האלה במזרח גרמניה, שרונן מתאר כבעלות אופי ימני, היוותה חלק מהליך הווית היצירה. “מההתחלה הרגשתי מוזר להיות שם. ידעתי כבר קודם שמדובר במעוז הימין הקיצוני בגרמניה, המטפס מעלה כל בחירות בצורה מדאיגה. מהר מאוד הרגשתי את זה בחנויות כשלא ששו לתת לי שירות כי קלטו שאני זר, שמעתי סיפורים של הרקדנים, שהכהה מבניהם נעצר תכופות לתשאול עי שוטרים. החוויות האלו גרמו לי לרצות להבין איך נבנה המומנטום החברתי הזה, ולהביא אותו לבמה. רציתי להבין אותו ברמה הכי גולמית, ומכאן למפות איך שנאה כזו התפתחה ומתפתחת.

כמישהו שהשורשים שלו מפותלים יהודי, גרמני, רומני, גיי, ישראלי, רקדן ועוד, אני נכלל הרבה פעמים בסיטואציות המקטלגות אותי, ואני חלק ממדינה המקטלגת אחרים. רציתי להבין מתי החברה נותנת לעצמה לגיטימציה, אפילו הקטנה ביותר, לקטלג אנשים, ושם, בשורש העניין, להגיד את אשר אני רוצה להגיד“.

היו רגעים שחשת מקוטלג?

בוודאי. את הקיטלוג אני מרגיש מאוד כגיי. ישנם חוקים בארץ המפלים להטבים: אסור להתחתן, אסור להביא ילדים, אם יהיו לי זה יעלה מאות אלפי שקלים בדרך לא דרך. שר החינוך מכריז מלחמה על הקהילה כל שני וחמישי, יש שלטים הומופובים באיילון והגייז בארץ חיים את זה כמציאות.

בנוסף, אני כבר כעשור חי ביפו באוכלוסייה מעורבת, ומזדעזע לשמוע על שנאת הערבים וההחפצה שלהם בפוליטיקה הישראלית ובעקבות זה בפייסבוק וברחוב. הם אנשים, עולם ומלואו. הם אנשים, ולא פחות. אני לא חושב שהבנתי כמה זה הפריע לי, כמה זה כנראה בער בי, עד שקיבלתי את ההזדמנות ליצור על הנושא הזה.

האם למדנו מהחפצת היהודים? מהאפליה שלהם? מהיכולת לקחת אנשים ולעשות מהם קבוצה ולהגיד אתם מודרים החוצה? ומשם כל אמצעי מקבל תעודת הכשר לכך? התשובה היא בפשטותה לא. העירנות בנושא, דווקא מתוך ראיית ההיסטוריה, היא כמעט ולא קיימת לא כחברה, ולא כיחיד. תקופת הבחירות מוציאה את האמת הנוראית הזו החוצה ומקצינה אותה. ההרס הוא עצום, הרס שלאחריו קשה לטעון אנושיות אמיתית של חברה מתוקנת“.

היו תקופות שחשת אחרת?

האמת שכן. יעל גרמן קידמה את תיקון חוק הפונדקאות שיהיה פתוח לכולם. ואז השלטון התחלף, יש עתיד יצאו מהממשלה ושנתיים של קידמה נמחקו. אוכלוסיה שלמה הוגדרה כלא ראויה להורות. זה הרי הטירוף בהתגלמותו, המוסתר מאחורי טייטל של דעה לגיטימיתהשוללת גייז. אך זהו טירוף קולקטיבי, לא נתבלבל. זה מטורף, כאילו מישהו היה מחליט שנשים לא יכולות ללדת.

זה לא פחות ממאבק עבור מי שהוא מיעוט להיות שווה לאחר. שווה, ברמה בה אין אדם שלו זכויות פחותות. כל דיון בנושא, הטוען שיש אנשים פחותים מאחרים, הוא דיון שעצם התקיימותו לא לגיטימית בעיני. מבחינתי אנושיות היא ההפך מההחפצה הזו, שהיא שורש שאותו צריך לעקור“.

את היצירה בנה בעזרת אימפרוביזציות מצולמות עם הרקדנים, כל פעם בנושא אחר החלש, החזק, שלילת האחר וצבירת מומנטום שלילי כלפי מישהו. “זה לא היה תהליך קל, זה היה כמו ניסוי חברתי שתכופות זיעזע אותי, ואותם. היו רגעים שלא האמנתי כמה אמת הרקדנים שולפים על יופיו וכיעורו של הטבע האנושי. איך ברגע אנחנו יוצרים כאן אנדרדוג, מישהו שכולם שונאים, מישהו רדוף, מישהו חלש בבמה כמו בחיים. במופע יש רקדן שמתנכלים לו, בעיני הוא מייצג את המיעוט הנרדף, שאר הרקדנים דוחקים בו ולא נותנים לו להיות.”

עד כה הציגה הלהקה את המופע מספעמים כשהשבוע יחזור רונן למופעי הבכורה, שמונה במספר ובהמשך מקווה להציג את המופע בישראל.

איך הצופים הגרמנים מקבלים את היצירה? את נוכחות השואה והנוכחות הגאה במעוז הימין הגרמני?

לא ידעתי ככ אילו תגובות נקבל, אני חייב לציין שהיצירה מתקבלת שם בברכה בגלל הקשר לשואה. היה לי חשוב לכתוב בתכניה שאני גיי, מורכבות הזהות שלי, כמו של כל אחד, היא קריטית מבחינתי לשקיפות המופע, והרגשתי צורך לחשוף את זה לצופים.

מהו הרגע הכי מרגש שהיה לך במופע?

המופע מסתיים בכך שכל מי שבקהל מוצא מהאולם לרחוב על ידי אחד הרקדנים. אחרי יצירה שהיא קשה לצפייה, זהו מעמד אנושי מאוד ושברירי, בו הגבולות נמחקים, בין הרקדן לצופה, בין הבמה לחיים. אני תמיד מאוד מתרגש כשאני רואה אנשים מובלים יד ביד החוצה. זה מרגיש שלי כמו תיקון. בשיח ביני והרקדנים לבין הקהל לאחר המופע, אני מרגיש שהם מקבלים אותי ואני אותם, מבלי טייטלים, וזה מהות המופע. הם מאוד חשופים לגבי רגשותיהם וזה מאוד מרגש ונעים. המטענים הם גדולים, השואה היא כנראה הארוע החשוך בהיסטוריה. אולי חשוך מדי מכדי שנוכל להתייחס אליו ישירות או לפתור אותו דורות אחר כך בין כתלי התיאטרון. ישנו שקט אנושי וערום בחדר, ומתוכו צומח אור גדול, ותקווה כנה, ולכל אחד יש מקום, והמקום הזה הוא לא אחד מול השני, אלא ביחד“.

We are consumed too much with hatred

“Throughout my life I have often come across people who attack others, physically or verbally, people they barely know. I see people overtaken by their fear from anything which is different from them. These situations led me to create a work which deals with hatred towards the other”, said this week international choreographer Oded Ronen.

Walla! Pride


This week Ronen will fly to present his new work, “Glass houses” (named for the transparency with which we can look at ourselves as part of society), which he created for Ballet Plauen Zwickau in East Germany. The piece will be performed eight times, all sold out. With his latest work, Capsule, Ronen performs all over the world, with the highlight of performing it in Ghana and then creating a work for 140 local dancers and musicians.

The show is relevant and speaks of current times, through the events in Germany 70 years ago. In collaboration with the Steven Spielberg Archive in the US, the show incorporates videos form Nazi Propaganda – superiority of the Aryan race, incitement against the Jews in the 1930s and the drifting of the masses in a calculated and consistent way. Also included are photos of 17 members of Ronen’s family, who were sent from the same city, Plauen, to their deaths in Auschwitz.

Oded, how did it evolve that you perform now in Plauen?

“I was invited to create a work for Ballet Plauen Zwickau and it surprised me. It isn’t a very known place but I knew it. Plauen was very dominant in my childhood. My family of my mother’s side originates from there. Some came to Israel in the 1930s and 17 who resided there were murdered. I had always felt detached from all this. Maybe the Holocaust is just too big to digest, and perhaps because there wasn’t even one survivor to tell the story of that side of the family.”

Oded didn’t yet have a clear topic for the work, and he started to look for one. At first he spent time in the two cities to get to know them and East Germany better. “It seemed forced for me to create about the holocaust, even with this connection to the family. The whole issue of labeling and categorizing people interested me, at the most global level possible, including referencing to other nations and especially to things I see in Israel.

In one of my trips to Plauen I arrived at the Jewish cemetery, which survived the war, and as I stood above the graves of my great-great grandmother and grandfather, I knew I had to decipher something about my roots, my complex connection to all this and then bring it, with a high level of sensitivity, to the stage. The work poses questions about every society, then and now, and speaks directly to the viewers and their lives. Throughout the work, there are two dancers, a man and a woman, who are gradually excluded from society through hostile and extreme situations. They are like every man and woman who exist in our world and certainly is the case for the viewers, who see them live on stage. The photos of the family members who perished, projected at the end of the show, emphasize that the human danger is tangible, even nowadays, even within us. It says, actually – this is real, it’s not theoretical, it happened, and it happened here in Plauen, to people like you and me.

I think that because the work deals with a global issue, bringing the Holocaust as an example, the audience understands that I haven’t come to perpetuate the historical injustice and their role as “perpetrators”, but rather the opposite. However absurd it may sound, making a work about hatred towards the other, which horrifically exists almost everywhere nowadays, brings the Holocaust, for me, as the most extreme example of where objectifying the other could lead us. I feel deeply hurt as a person, more than as a Jew, therefore the work is global and not about the Holocaust.”

The stay in these cities, which Ronen describes as having a far right wing character, was an integral part of the creation process. “From the beginning it felt strange to be there. I had known beforehand that this region held strong right wing views, and voting numbers for right extremists’ parties keep rising in each election in an alarming way. I very quickly felt this in stores, when I wasn’t offered service because I was foreign, and also through stories told to me by the dancers, of a dark skinned member of the company, who used to be stopped by the police on a regular basis for no apparent reason. Those experiences made me want to understand how this social momentum builds up, and bring that to the stage. I wanted to understand it on the most rawest of levels, and from there map out how hatred evolves and is still evolving.

As someone whose roots are entangled – Jewish, German, Romanian, gay, Israeli, dancer etc, I often find myself in situations which categorize me, and I am part of a country which categorizes others also. I wanted to understand when does a society give itself legitimacy, even in the slightest, to categorize people, and there, in the root of the matter, say what I want to say.”

Were there moments you felt you were cataloged?

“Of course. I feel it very much as a gay person in Israel. There are laws which discriminate the LGBT community: It’s forbidden to marry, to have children, and if I will have any, it will cost hundreds of thousands of shekels in some entangled way. The minister of education declares war on the community every Monday and Thursday, There are homophobic signs on the Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv, and gays living in Israel experiences this as their normal reality.

In addition, for the last decade I’ve been living in Jaffa, which has a mixed population of Jews and Arabs, and am shocked when I hear the hatred pointed at them in Israeli politics and as a result, on Facebook and on the streets. They are people, each of them a world in its fullness. They are people, and nothing less. I don’t think I understood how much this bothered me, apparently it burned up inside me, until I got the opportunity to create about this topic.

Have we learned anything from the objectification of the Jews? From the discrimination against them? From someone’s ability to take people, make a group out of them and say – you are excluded? And any means to do that would be acceptable? The answer, simple as it may be, is no. Awareness of this, especially through the mirror of history, is almost non-existent [in Israel] – not as a society, and not as individuals. Election periods bring out this terrible truth and exaggerate it. The destruction left behind is immense, one which makes the claim that we are a humane and reformed society, quite difficult.”

Where there times you felt different?

“Yes actually. Yael German (former minister of health from Yesh Atid party) promoted the amendment of the Surrogacy Law so it would be open to everyone. And then the government changed, Yesh Atid left the government and two years of progress were erased. An entire population was defined as unworthy of parenting. It is madness in its pure essence, hiding behind a title of “a legitimate opinion” which denies gays equal rights. But this is collective madness, let’s not be confused. It’s as if someone would have decided that women could not be parents.

It’s a struggle for anyone who is a minority – to be an equal. Equal, to the point that there is no human who has less rights. Any discussion on the subject, which claims that there are people who are worth less, is a discussion whose very existence is illegitimate in my eyes. To me, humanity is the opposite of objectifying, which is a root that needs to be uprooted.”

He built the work through a process involving video recordings of improvisations with the dancers, each time on a different theme – the weak, the strong, the disapproval of the other and the accumulation of negative momentum towards an individual. “It wasn’t an easy process. It was like a social experiment that often shocked me, and the dancers too. There were moments when I couldn’t believe how much truth the dancers were revealing about the beauty and ugliness of human nature. How in one moment we can create the “underdog”, someone which everyone hates, someone persecuted, weak – on stage like in real life. In the work there is a dancer who is harassed. For me he represents the persecuted minority. The other dancers don’t let him be.”

So far the dance company performed several shows, and this week when Ronen returns to Germany they will prepare to perform 8 more, and after that he hopes to bring the work to Israel.

How does the German audience feel about the work? The presence of the Holocaust and the LGBT presence in the stronghold of the German extreme right wing?

“I didn’t really know what responses we would get, I must say that the work felt welcomed because of the connection to the Holocaust. It was important for me to write in the program that I was gay. My complexed identity, as is everyone’s, is crucial in my eyes for the transparency of the show, and I felt the need to reveal this to the audience.”

What is the most touching moment you experienced in the show?

“The show ends with each member of the audience led out of the theater and into the street by one of the dancers. After a work which is difficult to watch, it is a very fragile and humane moment, where all boundaries are deleted – between the dancer and the spectator, and between the stage and life. I get very touched when I see people led out by the hand. It feels like making something aright. In the dialogue that the dancers and I have with the audience after the show, I feel that the viewers accept me and I accept them, without any titles, and that is the essence of the piece. The people who choose to talk are very exposed about their feelings and it is very touching. The weight of the past is felt. It is probably the darkest event in history. Perhaps too dark for us to address directly and resolve, generations later, within the walls of the theater. There is a humane and naked silence in the room, from which a great light grows, and an honest hope, and everyone has a place, and this place is not in front of each other, but together.”

Oded Ronen: Glashäuser


Source: Zohar Elia Turiel


[Full link and English translation at the bottom of the page]


הכוריאוגרף מעלה לבמה בגרמניה תמונות של קרוביו שנספו בשואה

יצירת מחול של עודד רונן שמועלית כיום בעיר הגרמנית פלאון מהווה סגירת מעגל עבורו: במקום הזה חיו בני משפחתו, וממנו הם יצאו לאושוויץ. תצלומיהם מוצגים במופע

זהר אליה טוריאל



לרקדן והכוריאוגרף עודד רונן יש ניסיון עשיר בתחום המחול. הוא רוקד ועובד הרבה בארץ ובחול, יצירות שלו הועלו באירופה, באוסטרליה ובאפריקה, אבל למופע בתי זכוכית“, שאותו הוא מעלה בימים אלה בגרמניה, יש משמעות מיוחדת עבורו: היצירה מבוצעת על ידי להקת הבלט של העיר פלאון שבמזרח המדינה, שבה חיו בני משפחתה של אמו לפני מלחמת העולם השנייה. 17 איש יצאו ממנה למחנות ההשמדה, ולא חזרו. היום מוקרנות תמונותיהם על מסך ענק כחלק מהמופע של הכוריאוגרף הישראלי (ראו תמונה למעלה).


היה לי מאוד מורכב להסתובב בעיר הזו בימים הראשונים“, אומר רונן. “היא מאוד יפה, אבל כל הזמן זכרתי שגם בני המשפחה שלי הסתובבו באותם רחובות, ישבו בבתי קפה, ומשם הם נלקחו לאושוויץ. הקרנת התמונות שלהם בסוף המופע היא מעין תיקון עולם בשבילי – רצון להחזיר אנשים שנשכחו אל לב השיח הציבורי בחלק המזרחי של גרמניה, שבו מורגשים מאוד הימין הקיצוני והניאונאציזם“.


איך מתפתח טירוף המוני

רונן (40) גדל בתל אביב, ובנעוריו עסק בעיקר במוזיקה. את המחול גילה דווקא במהלך שירותו הצבאי כמפקד בחיל הקשר: אחת לשבועיים, כשהיה יוצא הביתה לסופשבוע, נהג להצטרף לשיעורי מחול פתוחים, ונדבק בחיידק. חבריו ליחידה לא ידעו שזה מה שרונן עושה בשבתות, מה גם שהוא המשיך להשקיע בתפקידיו בצהל. העולם הצבאי אמנם רחוק מאוד מהמחול, אבל רונן אומר שבמהלך השירות קיבל כלים שמסייעים לו לעבוד עם רקדנים. “העברתי בצבא קורסי מפקדים ועסקתי בפסיכולוגיה מנהיגותית, ואלה תכנים שאני משתמש בהם עד היום, כי העיסוק במחול הוא עיסוק בנפש“, הוא אומר. “אני נותן לרקדנים פתח אל התתמודע והולך איתם לאיבוד. לכוריאוגרפים יש סטיגמה של אנשים קפריזיים ומתנשאים, אבל אצלי הגורם האנושי הוא העיקר, ולכן אני מאוד מודע לאנשים שסביבי. אין שום אמנות שמצדיקה השארת פגרים באמצע הדרך. אני גם לא מהגאונים האינדבידואליים. אני מחובר לדרישות ממני, ללוחות הזמנים ולכספים, ומנסה לכוון במסגרתם כמה שיותר גבוה“.


אחרי השחרור למד מחול בלונדון, ואחר כך רקד בפורטוגל. לאחר שש שנים בחול חזר לישראל, ולא מתוך אילוץ. “ישראל היא מעצמת מחול, וכך רואים אותה אנשי מקצוע מכל העולם“, מפתיע רונן. “יש לנו כאן להקות ידועות ושיטות תנועה מהפכניות, והמחול בארץ הוא פורץ דרך. בישראל יש את המחול המודרני הכי טוב בעולם“. הוא רקד כאן בלהקות פרסקו וקולבן דאנס, ובמקביל, השתתף כרקדן פרילאנס בפרויקטים באוסטרליה, בקפריסין, באלבניה וגם בטקס הפתיחה של אולימפיאדת אתונה ב-2004. כל השנים יצר גם בעצמו, אבל החל להתמקד בכוריאוגרפיה אחרי שעזב את להקות הריקוד. אחת מיצירותיו, “קפסולה“, נצפתה על ידי מנהלי הבלט פלאוןצוויקאו, שתי ערים בגרמניה שיש להן תיאטרון משותף. הם התלהבו ממנה וביקשו מרונן שיכין יצירה עבורם. “הם רצו יצירה של שעה, אבל לא הייתה להם אגנדה מסוימת“, הוא נזכר. “אחרי שסיפרתי להם שהשורשים שלי הם מפלאון, הוחלט שנושא היצירה, ברמה האבסטרקטית, יהיה שורשים“.


אז הם הזמינו יצירה ולא ידעו מה בדיוק הם יקבלו?

גם אני לא יודע עף פעם מה בדיוק ייצא. אני עובד בשיטה של דמיון בתנועה: התנועה נולדת מתוך החוויה של הרקדנים. אני נותן הכוונה, הרקדנים טובעים בזה, וככה זה מתפתח. בעבודה על היצירה הזו ביקשתי מהם לקרוא ספר שעוסק באגו הקולקטיבי ושמראה איך מתפתח טירוף המוני. עם הזמן נכנסנו לתחום יותר ויותר אפל, בלי שיפוטיות. דיברנו על שנאה ועל אפליה שהרקדנים עצמם חוו – במיוחד כהי העור שביניהם – וגם על תחושת האשמה שיש להם כגרמנים. גם נתתי להם משימות של תוקף וקורבן שלפעמים יצאו משליטה. את הכול צילמתי בוידאו.”


כשחברה נכנסת לאישפיות

רונן מחובר מאוד לנושא השואה, בעיקר דרך אמו, היסטוריונית שזהו תחום התמחותה. הוריה עזבו את פלאון ועלו לארץ לפני מלחמת העולם השנייה, אבל בני משפחה אחרים נשארו שם ונספו, והיא לקחה חלק פעיל בהנצחתם. רונן עצמו נמנע מלעסוק בשואה. ” הפסיק לי מה ששמעתי בבית. העדפתי להתרחק. כששקעתי בנושא דרך העבודה על היצירה בגרמניה, הופתעתי מעצמי. אמנם, היצירה לא ממש עוסקת בשואה, אבל הנושא מוזכר בה כדוגמה קיצונית למה שעלול לקרות לחברה שנכנסת למומנטום של אישפיות קולקטיבי. הוריי מאוד התרגשו כשצפו בהצגת הבכורה.”


לא היית רוצה להעלות את היצירה בברלין?

אם היא הילתה עולה בברלין, זה היה פחות משמעותי. במזרח גרמניה מרגישים היום הרבה יותר את הימין הקיצוני, ולכן יש משמעות מיוחדת לכך שהמופע מועלה דווקא שם. לאנשים שם יש תחושה של אכלו לי, שתו לי‘, בגלל המערבגרמנים והפליטים, שלהרגשתם לקחו להם כסף ותקציבים והשאירו אותם בלי כלום. תחושה זו מולידה שנאה לאחר. עובדי התיאטרון והרקדנים מדבקים על זה המון ורוצים להביא תלמידי בית ספר לראות את המופע כדי שדור העתיד שם לא ייכנע לשנאת האחר. כרגע נמכרו כמעט כל הכרטיסים להופעות הקרובות, שאומר שהקהל הגרמני מוכן להתמודד עם הנושא.”


התיאטרון בפלאון יעלה את בתי זכוכיתשמונה פעמים במהלך החודשים הקרובים, ורונן כבר יודע שלאחר מכן צפויה לו תקופה לא קלה. “היצירה הזאת היא כל כך מדויקת בעיניי, שאני לא כל כך יודע איך אוכל ליצור אחר כך משהו אחר. אבל תחושת הריק הזו כבר מוכרת לי מיצירות קודמות. ההתרוקנות היא טובה, כי אם התרוקנת, סימן שלא השארת שום דבר פתוח, וניסיון העבר שלי מוכיח שהכלי מתמלא שוב. יש לי גם תוכנית להביא את בתי זכוכיתלארץ, ואני מנהל מגעים בנושא עם כמה תיאטראות.”

לא רק לצעירים

עם כל הפרויקטים שלו ככוראוגרף, רונן ממשיך לרקוד בעצמו. יש לו גם להקה משלו שמשתתפת בהפקות שונות בארץ. בתחילת הדרך, הוא אומר, חשב שיוכל לרקוד עד גיל 30. אבל הקריירה שלו הוכיחה לו שהתפיסה הזאת היא מוטעית. היכולת לרקוד בצורה משמעותית ומרגשת לא נעלמת עם הגיל, גם אם היכולת הפיזית משתנה.

מחול לא מיועד לצעירים“, טוען רונן. “בכל גיל אפשר להבין את הפיזיולוגיה של הגוף, והתוצאות הן מהירות יותר מקצב ההזדקנות. עידו תדמור עדיין רוקד כל יום בגילו. הוא לא הפסיק מעולם, ולכן רוקד מדהים. הרקדנים מזדקנים רק כשהם מפסיקים לרקוד, לא כשהגיל קופץ עליהם, כי מה שחשוב זה התשוקה, לא שום דבר אחר. אני מלמד נשים בנות 40 ו 50 שקודם לכן מעולם לא רקדו, והם רוקדות פצצה. לתנועה שלהן יש איכות ועומק. בזכותן הפסקתי להתעסק עם הגיל.”



The Choreographer brings to the stage in Germany pictures of his relatives who perished in the Holocaust

A dance piece by Oded Ronen, which is currently being performed in the German city of Plauen, is a closing of a cycle for him: his family members lived in this place, and from there they were taken to Auschwitz. Their photographs are displayed in the show

Zohar Elia Turiel



Dancer and choreographer Oded Ronen has a rich experience in the field of dance. He dances and works abroad, his works have been performed in Europe, Australia and Africa, but the show “Glass Houses”, which he is currently showing in Germany, has a special meaning for him: the work is performed by Ballet Plauen Zwickau in East Germany, where his mom’s family lived before World War Two. 17 people were sent to the Auschwitz and did not return. Their photos are projected on huge screens as part of the show of the Israeli choreographer.

“I found it complicated at first to walk around this city”, says Ronen. “It is very beautiful, yet I kept remembering, that my family walked through the same streets, sat in the same cafés, and from there they were sent to Auschwitz. To project their photos at the end of the show is an amendment of history for me – to bring forgotten people back into discussion in the eastern part of Germany, where the extreme right and neo-Nazism are very much felt”.

How does mass madness develops


Ronen (40), grew up in Tel Aviv, and in his youth was mostly involved in music. He discovered dance during his military service in the communication corps: Once every two weeks, when he went home for the weekend, he used to join open dance classes, and was hooked. His friends from the army didn’t know how he spent his Saturdays, especially since he continued to invest in his duties at the base. The military world is indeed far from the dance world, yet Ronen says it gave him the right tools to work with dancers. “I taught commanders courses in the army and dealt with the psychology of leadership, and these are tools that I use to this very day, as working in dance means working with the soul”, he says. “I give the dancers an opening to the subconscious and we purposely get lost there. Choreographers have a stigma of being capricious and arrogant, but for me the human element is the main thing, so I am very aware of the people around me. There is no art that justifies leaving carcasses on the road. Nor am I some “individual genius”. I am aware of the demands of me, towards schedules and finances, and try, within them, to aim as high as possible”.

After the army he studied in London, and then danced in Portugal. After six years abroad he returned to Israel, from a place of choice. “Israel is a master in the field of contemporary dance, and it’s seen as such everywhere”, surprises Ronen. “We have here known companies, revolutionary movement methods, and the dance in Israel is ground breaking. It is the best in the world”. He danced here for Kolben and Fresco Dance companies, and in parallel, freelanced in projects in Australia, Cyprus, Albania and the opening ceremony of the Athens Olympic Games of 2004. During these years he also created choreographies, but focused more on it after leaving the dance companies. One of his works, “Capsule”, was seen by the artistic director of Ballet Plauen Zwickau, two cities in Germany which have one joint theater. Ronen was asked to make a work for them. “They requested a work of one hour, but didn’t have a specific agenda”, he recalls. “After I told them that my origins are from Plauen, we decided, that the topic of the work, in an abstract way, would be roots”.

So they ordered a work and didn’t know what they were going to get?

“I also never know exactly what will come out. I work with a method called imagery in motion. The movement is born out of the experience of the dancers. I give a direction, the dancers immerse themselves in it, and that’s how it develops. In working on this piece, I asked them to read a book that deals with collective ego and shows how mass madness develops. Over time we entered an increasingly dark realm, without self-judgment. We talked about the hatred and discrimination that the dancers themselves experienced – especially the more dark skinned ones – and also about the guilt they have as Germans. I also gave them missions to be an aggressor and a victim, that at times got out of hand. I filmed everything on video.

When society goes insane

Ronen is very connected to the Holocaust, especially through his mother, an historian. Her parents left Plauen and came to Israel before World War Two, but other members of the family stayed and perished. She took an active part in their commemoration. Ronen himself refrains from engaging with the Holocaust. “What I heard at home was enough for me. I preferred to stay away. When I immersed myself into the work in Germany, I surprised myself. The piece itself may not be about the Holocaust, yet the Holocaust was brought there as an example of what could happen to a society which enters a momentum of collective insanity. My parents were very touched when they saw the premiere”.


Wouldn’t you want to perform the work in Berlin?

“If it were to be performed there, it would be less significant. In East Germany, the far right is much more noticeable, so there is a special significance to showing the work there. Some of the people there have a victim mentality, due to how they perceive West Germans and the refugees, who they feel have taken money and budgets from them. Such feelings feed hatred towards the other. The dancers and other members of the theater talk about this a lot, and want to bring school students to see the show so that the future generations there will not succumb to hatred of the other. At the moment, almost all the tickets for the upcoming performances have been sold, which means that the German audience is ready to deal with this issue”.

With all his projects as a choreographer, Ronen continues to dance. He also has his own project based company which performs in Israel. In the beginning, he says, he thought he could only dance until he was 30, but his career proved to him that this perception was wrong. In his opinion, the ability to dance in a meaningful and exciting way does not disappear with age, even if the physical ability changes.

“Dance is not just for young people”, Ronen claims. “At any age you can understand the physiology of the body, and the results are faster than the rate of aging. Ido Tadmor still dances every day at his age. He never stopped, so he dances amazingly. Dancers only age when they stop dancing, not when age “jumps” on them, because what matters is passion, not anything else. I teach women in their 40s and 50s who have never danced before, and they dance beautifully. Their movement has quality and depth. Thanks to them, I’ve stopped messing with the topic of age”.,7340,L-5688753,00.html


Oded Ronen: Capsule

By Ayelet Dekel

October 29, 2017

Oded Ronen’s Capsule shimmers with the clarity of water, sunlit tides touching the shores of a remote island, in its blue depths and hidden currents revealing something primal, essential. It is an intimate work, moving and profound, with outstanding performances by Oded Ronen and Ligal Melamed. Reaching beyond the individual, it has an almost mythological feel.

Capsule premiered in Tmuna Theatre’s International Festival, taking place in the Amphi. It’s a demanding venue, as in this space everything is out there, close enough to touch. It’s a performance space that dares you to bare your soul in front of an attentive audience. As people entered the theatre, preoccupied with finding a place to sit, the two dancers moved, entangled, writhing against the wall on the other side of the door.  Their movement suggesting a timelessness, as if we, the audience, have happened on something already in progress, perhaps something that began so long ago that its origins have been forgotten, something that will continue long after we all are gone.

Small, rectangular boxes randomly strewn, covered the floor, as the two dancers, entwined, moved slowly across the wall towards the corner of the room. Ambient sounds of birds and water evoke an Edenic scene. In their intricate, interconnected movement, they impede one another’s movement. Creating intriguing forms beautiful to behold as they interlock and block one another, the physical language emerges organically from the work’s themes.

The relationship of movement to concept is meticulously consistent throughout, with a vocabulary of imposed physical limitations embodying contradictions. In one sequence, Ligal dances with her arms pinned to her knees at the elbow, an almost impossible and certainly awkward position to maintain, yet resulting in images of surprising grace and beauty. Oded is a powerful dancer of muscular elegance. As a choreographer, he resists here the temptation of showcasing his talents; harnessing them to express the complexities of content, and empowering the work.

Almost imperceptibly, a process begins, as crawling on their bellies in a primordial mode, they alternate pushing away the boxes with their heads and bodies. Then, they rise up to stand, lifting one of the boxes between them, balanced on their chins. Moving boxes using their bodies and arms, yet never gripping with their hands, they build something that appears to be a wall, with all its accompanying associations. Are they keeping something in or keeping something out? Is this wall a protection or a limitation? Is it all of these things and more? There is a strong sense of origins, of the process of becoming, in the movement of this work. In the dancer’s gaze one recognizes a reflective curiosity, as if, in movement they are discovering and exploring the possibilities of the body and its motion. And all the while, the boxes are manipulated, moved into position. Something is being constructed, coming into being.

Curiosity, tenderness, violence, fear, and despair – embodied in a work of grace and strength, and ultimately, reflected upon with a sense of perspective infused with humor. It’s a work of extremes: the two are either entangled, each unable to move without the other, each unable to move because of the other; or else entirely apart. Much of the action is grounded, literally taking place on or close to the floor, or else anchored on one of the walls. Until, towards the end, after a scene of ruin and devastation, there is a sense of surrender and exhaustion that grows into something tender. The soft, slow, tangle of movement is suddenly writ large, in the center of the floor, with leaps and lifts as the dancers take and give movement to one another in a surge of energy.

Oded Ronen’s work investigates the most abstract concepts – identity, self, self & other, relationships, community, beliefs – in the most visceral, physical way. Taking apart and constructing, destroying and building, exploring the mythology of relationships, Capsule is a riveting emotional experience, marked by beauty and mystery.

Oded Ronen: Capsule

Business Ghana

15th Mar 2019


Week of Dance Bridges: ‘Capsule’ promotes peace in the world

MUSIC and dance have been proven to be effective tools for communicating and on Monday, March 11, patrons who were at the Efua Sutherland Studios at the University of Ghana’s School of Performing Arts were treated to a performance titled Capsule, meant to promote world peace.

A contemporary Israeli duet, Capsule is an intimate work with an outstanding performance which combines the most abstract concepts of identity, self, relationships, community and beliefs.

Performed by Oded Ronen – who is also the choregrapher – and Ligal Melamed, it was the first in a series of activities for the maiden Israel-Ghana Week of Dance Bridges, organised by the Embassy of Israel and the Dance Department of the University of Ghana.

In today’s chaotic world, Capsule is a very relevant piece as it throws light on the essence of peace and how nonviolent co-existence ensures the survival of humanity.

Even though it was a dance production, it painted a telling picture of the process of peace building and how people cannot live successfully without support from others.

Capsule drives home the point that the world will not be a happy place for anyone if people didn’t belong to a home, family, country or political parties.

Explaining the concept to Graphic Showbiz later, Oded Ronen said Capsule, first performed at the Tmuna International Festival in Israel in 2017, explains how people use capsules (medicine) to cure their illnesses and the need for humans to exist interdependently to soothe each other’s pains and sorrows.

“A world where you eat alone, sleep alone, age alone, get sick alone, and where no one has your back is obviously not one that we seek and that is why Capsule advocates that we come together to build the world and make it a better place,” he said.

The Israeli Embassy hopes to create an atmosphere of commonalities between Israeli and Ghanaian culture, hence, the institution of the dance week which captures four major dance activities.

An Israeli-Ghanaian Dance Workshop was held on Tuesday, March 12 and explored traditions through the art of dance, a learning experience of traditional Israeli folklore dance and its origins.

A Dance Film Screening on Thursday, March 14 will examine the interrelation between two phenomena of 20th century modern dance especially German modern dance and Zionism, the evolution of the Israeli society.

The Week of Dance Bridges will be climaxed on Saturday, March 16, and it is a joint project between the Israeli choreographer, Oded Ronen and various Ghanaian dance groups.

Various individuals and groups from Israel and Ghana are participating in the Week of Dance Bridges and include Oded Ronen, Ligal Melamed, Ofer Lachish, the University of Ghana Dance Department, Chen Laimer, National Dance Company, Ghana Dance Ensemble, the Great Africa Heritage Dance Ensemble and Nii Tetty Lebno Tetteh and the Kusun Ensemble.

Lead choreographer, Oded Ronen has performed with many Dance companies including Cedece Dance Company (Portugal) and Kolben Dance Company and Fesco Dabce Company both from Israel.

He has also created pieces for the Jerusalem Ballet, Bloomfield Science Museum, IntimaDance Festival, Kolben Dance Company and Humans in Motion (all in Israel).

Oded Ronen: Capsule

By John Owoo

15th Mar, 2019


Dance piece takes on abstract concepts

A compelling duet by Israeli dancers Oded Ronen and Ligal Melamed last week turned the ETS Drama Studio at the University of Ghana (Legon) into a dance groove, where agile bodies freely explored abstract issues and concepts.

Titled “Capsule”, the piece is a philosophical one with the two dancers exhibiting class and craft through restrained and composed movements. Indeed, it encompasses diverse notions including identity, relationships, community and beliefs among others.

With dozens of card boxes strewn across the stage, Ronen and Melamed employed rather sublime and tender body movements while constructing, assembling, destroying and exploring the mythology of relationships.

Interspersed with music by Ronen Kozokaro – arms, torsos, heads, hands and other body parts were constantly in motion. Employing classical virtuosity, they effectively combined contemporary sensibilities while unfolding a fascinating experience characterized by majesty and mystery.

Choreographed by Ronen, “Capsule” is equally about mutual discovery, tenderness and ecstasy that are beautifully articulated through the choreography. Undeniably, a great deal of energy emanated from the stage as the dancers moved with amazing ease from one sequence to the other.

In some instances they pick up the card boxes so gently it feels as if it embodies their soul – and other cases they just shuffle them around and dump them. In the end, they reassemble them in an upright and delicate manner as their bodies interchanged through expressive movements and gestures.

Earlier, choreographers / dancers Kofi Anthonio and Sena Atsugah enchanted the audience with a short piece titled “The Match”. With bodies moving in unison alongside subtle curves and tilts, they unveiled a sleek, compelling and moving piece that is equally visually stimulating.

The pair, who are also academics, vividly showcased the fact that their versatility as performers has grown with smart and unpredictable works in recent times. Indeed, they appeared to be full of freshness, calmness and zeal as they moved from one end of the stage to the other.

Accompanied by a choir from the Music Department, Anthonio and Atsugah, who are with the Department of Dance Studies, wove together an exhilarating order of movements as they exited the stage with grace and composure.

Present at the performance, which forms part of activities marking a project dubbed “Dance Bridges” include HE Shani Cooper Zubeida (Israeli Ambassador in Ghana), Prof. Kofi Agyekum (Dean of the School of Performing Arts) and Dr. Sylvanus Kuwor (Head, Department of Dance Studies).

Israeli Embassy in Accra organized “Dance Bridges”, which also encompassed lectures, workshops, film screenings and master classes in collaboration with the School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana, Legon.

Oded Ronen: Kintsugi

By Rachel Nouchi

6th June, 2017


Transitions Dance Company - Triple bill - Laban Theatre

Tonight, Transitions Dance Company, featuring twelve ferociously talented dancers ready to launch their careers on the dance circuit, attacked performance with admirable raw passion and fervour in a night that offered a mixed choreographic triple bill ranging from the captivating to oddly surprising.

The evening opened with a simple, but effective piece based on highly original material from choreographer, Charles Linehan, whereby he employed film footage from drones using the dancers as subjects to create choreography. It was ‘the aerial perspective of this drone footage that influenced the choreographic arrangement in Nothing but Time,’ tonight’s piece, explains Linehan.

While this is a short sequence at 13 minutes, its playful construction employs the power of light and shadows on movement and asks how the moving body responds to this onstage thus building compelling choreography. The dancers responded readily to the challenges set within Linehan’s choreography and keenly observed the relationships between eachother in space and how configurations of such patterns-influenced by the Ariel footage-can be navigated and negotiated between each other.

Kintsugi, choreographed by Oded Ronen came next and was by far the standout performance of the night. The collaboration of a haunting musical score by Ronen Kozokaro featuring Maurice Ravel’s Kaddish, the Jewish mourning prayer, worked in synergy with a thought provoking and elegiac choreography carried out with unflagging energy and power of performers.

Are we watching an MRI scan of a heart pumping only to be attacked by rogue cells appearing to disrupt an even rhythm of the heartbeat or perhaps factory workers as part of the machine? Questions are open to the audience to interpret and choreographic prompts are both stimulating and deeply moving.

While the piece is intense and carries passages of beautiful slow and sustained movement as well as more chaotic moments, it’s also comic. At one point the cast spit out golden sawdust and the audience has no idea why or where it came from, but it feels like an undisclosed spiritual reference. The notes refer to the Japanese art of Kintsugi, the title of the piece.

The framework of the choreography is built around the use of breath in varying degrees of tempos, weights and intensity. This, in turn, changes weight and movement intentions of the performer. Here, self-conscious breathing from lightweight to heavily laden are focused on gathering and scattering as a troupe. In certain phrases, the dancers come together, breathing communally only to be torn apart.

Finally, the last piece of the evening, &, created by Cristian Durant is intriguing to say the least. Set to an arrhythmic electronic score by composer Tom Monterio, the choreographer ‘invites dancers to (re)visit and plunder their physical and conceptual memory bank,’ and ‘the audience is clearly implicated in the unfolding of this work, playing its part and defining the action.’

While the beginning works beautifully with dancers dressed in a rare assortment of clothes from vintage colourful jumpers to 70’s party outfits snaking around the stage in suspended movement as if in slow motion or underwater, the action moves into uncomfortable territory.

Once the dancers start to leave the stage and filter into the audience space, attempts to connect to the action become limited.

As dancers descend into fractured, jerky moves, crawling and writhing over the seats with wide-eyed menacing stares and snarls, I had to banish film clips from the comic thriller, Shaun of the Dead, from mind.

One performer had clearly been instructed to leave her mouth open in some strange grimace. Through no fault of the excellent young performers, none of this felt disquieting ‘bizarre’ or connecting – just a little empty.

It’s worth commending the strength and fortitude of the dancers who managed to stay within the zone. However, this only deterred from the desired effect. Trying to interact with the performers proved impossible, despite the brief, as they were totally committed to respective inner worlds.

Rather, as the dancers sidled up to the audience, sitting next to them and pawing the velvet seats – things quickly spiraled into a Thriller style version of contemporary dance.

Surely there are better ways to dissolve the space between performer and audience – if this was the intention – than literally crawling all over them.

Overall, a lively night with hugely commendable zest and energy coming from the tireless performers who made the most of every second onstage and readily took on and embraced some challenging passages of choreography wholeheartedly.

Rachel Nouchi is a movement researcher/practitioner based at Central School of Speech and Drama and contributes as an arts reviewer for UK based performances. 

Oded Ronen: Kintsugi

Transitions Dance Company

7 March, 2017

Source: britishtheatreguide

Charles Linehan, Oded Ronen and Cristian Duarte (choreographers)

Transitions Dance Company, under the artistic direction of David Waring, based at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire is a postgraduate dance company, performing for one night at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Crewe campus.

Tonight’s audience in a studio theatre at the Axis Arts Centre seems to be largely made up of students. Nice to see the students supporting the event, but this company deserves a larger stage and a broader audience.

The show opens with “Nothing but Time”, choreographed by Charles Linehan (it should be noted, the company is also credited with developing each piece in this evening’s programme).

Dressed (more or less) in everyday clothes, sometimes aggressively catapulting one another across the floor, sometimes constrained to small, subtle, hypnotically slow motions, the dancers’ bodies seem in this piece deliberately to exploit each other, rather than working as partners. There is a sense of unease and friction throughout.

Michael Mannion’s lighting, opening with a glaring, stand-mounted white floodlight, which gives way to subtle and subdued illumination, enhances Linehan’s work (based on research into drone technology). A moody and tantalising opening piece.

The performance closes with “&”, choreographed by Cristian Duarte. A lone dancer moves silently around the stage, twisting, turning, walking, rolling. When he pauses, he is surrounded by the other eleven members of the troupe, in a bizarre tableau vivant—fixed grins and silent, unnatural laughs.

From there, “&” reminds me of a scene from the Marat/Sade, only less menacing and without the aggressive sexuality of Peter Weiss’s play. The dancers contort and leap around the floor, all the while pulling a series of faces—smiling, leering, remonstrating, etc. This slightly edgy playfulness then spills over into the audience—hats, coats, bags and shoes are all fair game. This interaction unsettles some (one young couple looking distinctly ill-at-ease) but most take it in good part, as gentle, mischievous fun.

The central piece, and the standout piece of the night, is Oded Ronen’s “Kintsugi”. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken crockery with a mix of resin and gold dust (or silver or platinum); the effect being to make the repaired object more of a treasure than before it broke. Irregular golden flashes across silver-grey tunics give Suzie Holmes’s costumes a cleverly subtle connection to the theme. Matthew Mannion’s lighting is at its best of the night; constant shifts in colour and orientation, enhancing and invigorating the visual experience.

All twelve Transitions dancers pack the stage for this often fierce and frantic creation; their passion and courage leading them to dare leaps and turns that a less surefooted troupe would baulk at, in what is a rather cramped space for so many performers.

While the movement is often graceful and athletic, the sense of flaw, of something not quite right, pervades this excellent piece. Sometimes, a dancer will pause, gently tapping his forehead or her chest—a motif gesture is the raising of the left arm, whilst tapping repeatedly at the rib cage just below the armpit. If these parts of the body begin to feel like areas of concern, this worry is soon given substance as one dancer begins to “leak” golden confetti, like a teddy bear losing her stuffing. Others suffer similar malfunctions—one “coughing” up gold dust, as if smitten by some terrible disease.

Each dancer has a moment to break away from the group into an energetic solo; like a body packed with energy it is struggling, desperately, to control—I pictured Pris’s demise in Blade Runner; grace, strength and skill, suddenly giving way to painful, awkward convulsions.

There is a tremendous climactic sequence in which the dancers split into two gangs, leaping and twisting with extraordinary energy and commitment, precision and synchronisation. This brief section is so powerful that my only criticism is that it should lead us to the finale. It feels like we are reaching the end, but we are not.

Nevertheless, the actual finale is powerful and moving (if ever so slightly, overdue). All the while, beneath the main action, dancers have broken away to attend to the gold confetti. In ones and twos, they sweep and scrape it together, attempting to mark out a jagged golden line. The effort seems futile, since the dancing feet or slithering bodies of others, often wipe away their work. However, at long last the golden zigzag of a kintsugi mend is illuminated on the dance floor, carving the stage in half. Is this, we wonder, a moment of triumph over all the woes they have suffered?

By now, eleven dancers are crowded stage right, seemingly queuing to exit. They gently tap not only their own “wounds” but those of their neighbours, concerned for each other’s afflictions. As the exit begins, a lone dancer is left behind. He writhes and twists across the golden healing join, scattering the gold dust, as if to show the mending has been in vain. A sombre and moving close to a marvellous piece of contemporary dance.

Transitions is a fine ensemble, but it would be wrong to say there are no stars in the company. In my view, the outstanding performer of the night is:

Bryn Aled, Marcus Alessandrini, Giannis Economides, Viva Foster, Becky Horne, Osian Meilir, Sean Murray, Srak Oakley, David Esteban Rodriguez, Sophie Tellings, Selene Travaglia, Jessica Walker.

If you get the chance to see them, grab it.

Reviewer: Martin Thomasson

Oded Ronen: Ye Si Gesher

18 March, 2019

Copyright: MFA Accra

Choreographer Oded Ronen with University of Ghana Dance Students

On Saturday, 16 March 2019, the Embassy of Israel climaxed its weeklong cultural dance festival, dubbed Israel-Ghana Dance Bridges week with a stunning performance titled “YE SI GESHER” (We built a Bridge).

This choreographic piece was the result of intense master class collaboration between Israeli Choreographer Oded Ronen, the Dance Students of the University of Ghana, the National Dance Company, the Great African Heritage Ensemble and the Ghana Dance Ensemble. It explored the myriad of movement systems that were developed to highlight the purpose for building bridges to bring Ghana and Israel together. The piece also highlighted individual struggles and passion, and the collective power of working together.

The night also witnessed symbolic individual pieces like Oded Ronen’s solo “Whale Dream” and Kofi Anthonio’s “Tribute”, a piece in honour of Ghana’s illustrious son, Emeritus Professor J. H. Nketia. 

In a media interaction, H. E. Shani Cooper, Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Liberian and Sierra Leone expressed that “when we understand each other through movement and dance, it helps us to understand each other politically as two states and two people.” 

On his part, Dr. Sylvanus Kwashie Kuwor, Head of Department for the University of Ghana Dance Department explained that, the performance sought to promote community existence and international cohesion. According to him, the Dance Department will through this collaboration, establish a module that could be used to enhance international relations on the cultural level.

From Monday, 11 to Saturday, 16 March, the Embassy of Israel in collaboration with the University of Ghana Dance Department for the first time, hosted a festival of dance in Accra dubbed, Israel-Ghana Dance Bridges Week. The week celebrated traditional, folk and contemporary dance acts with Israeli & Ghanaian dancers. It created an atmosphere of commonalities between the Israeli culture and the Ghanaian culture through dance. The week captured Israeli-Ghanaian dance performance such as Capsule by Oded Ronen and Ligal Melamed; Israel-Ghana folk dance with Chen Laimer and the Kunsun Dance Ensemble; as well as a movie screening on Israeli contemporary dance.

Oded Ronen: Ye Si Gesher

23 March, 2019

Source: Ghana Web

We will continue to build a strong relationship with Ghana – Israeli Ambassador

Israel’s Ambassador to Ghana, Shani Cooper has assured Ghanaians of her country’s commitment to building stronger ties with Ghana in diverse sectors of the economy.

She says the Israeli embassy will continue to work towards strengthen relations between the two countries

Shani Cooper was speaking at the climax of the Israel-Ghana week of dance bridges held at Efua Sutherland drama studio at the University of Ghana campus.

The ambassador noted that the week-long event was intended to serve as a platform for liaison between the Ghanaian government and the Israeli government in diverse sectors of the economy.

“We will both do it culturally, people to people, on academic level, on business level and also on political level. We’re working on all levels to have these two great nations coming together and building stronger relationships.”

She further explained in a media interaction that, the seven-day event captured Israeli-Ghanaian dance performances such as Capsula by Oded Ronen and Ligal Melamed as well as the Israel-Ghana folk dance with Chen Laimer and the Kunsun Dance Ensemble.

These dances were meant to highlight the collective power of working together to “build a bridge between two the cultures and also build a language of movement that will connect between Israel and Ghana”.

From Monday, 11 to Saturday, 16 March, the Embassy of Israel collaborated with the University of Ghana Dance Department and the National Dance Company for the first time to host a festival of dance in Accra dubbed, Israel-Ghana Dance Bridges Week.