Am I is a personal creation for the Dancer Talia Paz.
The dance movements are all part of Talia Paz’s personal movement material she embodied and performed in the last 20 years. Various forms of expression stretched from Ohad Naharin to Matz Ek’s significant style, from Stijn Celis to Sharon Eyal’s extreme body languge, are being re-visited and examined by Talia Paz.
De-constructing the text of the famous tune from the chorus line ‘Let Me Dance For You‘ into fragments of words and breathes, allows Talia to reformulate her artistic presence and skills.
Straddling the line between personal physicality to spoken text and the uncertain relations evolving on stage between these, triggers Talia Paz to challenge her current physical and emotional state.
A paradoxical landscape is created, shifting between the tragic and the comic, between the gaze and the hearing, between the said and the done and between the body’s desire to master the craft and to lose power and form.
The piece premiered at the Gala performance 'Age on Stage' October/2015 - Stockholm La Rival Theatre.
The creation enjoyed the support of the Israel Lottery Council For Culture & Arts.
Concept: Michael Getman // Talia Paz
Performance: Talia Paz
Sound: Michael Getman
Original Light: Tobias Hallgren // Tamar Or
Special Thanks to Charlotta Ofverholm
“Talia Paz is a wonderful example of a mature dancer who is completely aware of her body, her age, her physical abilities and their limitations.
Choreographer, Michael Getman, crafted especially for her, an intelligent solo piece that tells the story of a character, a dancer who crossed the red line - that is, the age of 45. on stage she offers moments from her daily routine in which the body is aware of its pains and strains - before it warms up.
Every movement of the joints and limbs is a battle against rigidity and resistance of the muscles, tendons and the skeleton as a whole. As a dancer, she knows, that her body needs to be systematically and consistently appeased and indulged until it tempers.
Getman used a lot of Talia Paz’s personal idiosyncratic expressions and exaggerates them. He encourage her to breath loudly, and moan. As time goes by, she repeats the same phrases and fragmented movements that she dealt with, in various ways over and over. We witness how the movement itself is improving, the body slowly defrosts, while her moans had long assumed their right to shout. A self- flagellation of sorts.
Getman, and Talia Paz under his guidance, are well aware of the two parallel channels: The movement enhancement and in parallel, the increasing level of complaints, expressed in many different shades of “krechtz” (the Yiddish word for fuss or grunt in pain), as a protest against the price she has to pay.
In the midst of conflicting emotions and entangled level of coping, Talia’s image does not forget what all this suffering is for. She raises her head and assumes a proud position while she announces:
I AM A DANCER
Yes Talia, you are a dancer. Hell yeah!!”
Ora Brafman - Dancetalk
"This tragicomical solo dealing with the psycho and physiological identity of a dancer. And she was simply fantastic."
Petra Dotlacilova - Tanecniaktuality
"A sober and sobering dance, which incorporates a rare self-consciousness, a wonderful talent and a healthy humor.”
The gap between the human and the sublime
“Time past and time future. What might have been and what has been. Point to one end, which is always present.”
TS Eliot, Burnt Norton. Four Quartets
Dance is an art form which can bridge the gap between the human and the sublime. The most physical and primordial element in humanity, the body, allows for moments of elation from the physical to the metaphysical. Those special, singular moments inhabit a time and space of their own. If you are lucky, you are present in such a moment, which seeps from the body to the soul, like looking into the horizon just at the moment the sun sets. Am I (choreography by Michael Getman, performance and artistic collaboration, Talia Paz) is such a moment which expands over an entire hour.
It is hard to define this work, which has an entire human whole, presented from a sobered, present point of view, but always transcending the singular eye. In every movement the body aspires into infinity, to bridge the gap between the physical and metaphysical, the body and soul, that which exists and that which isn’t here--- this is a dialectic that does not resolve itself but only intensifies. The work shifts between movement languages and emotional registers. The tension between humanity and existence moves like electricity from the stage to the audience and remains with the latter a long time after the performance ends.
The audience senses from the stage that there is a possibility to transcend, feel and understand that which is present and that which is not, the essence and being as well as that which exists beyond, that is not present with us, but is always a possibility in our future. We all live here, inhabit this earth, out of a right to be part of nature.As embodied beings, we are part of the planet as a whole, but we can transcend our physicality and reach beyond the earthly. It is rare to watch dancers of the caliber of Talia Paz. Her abilities are singular on many scales. And yet, the element that remains most of all with the audience in the deepest way is her ability to transcend and give the audience present moments of transcendence. Those are moments that never take themselves too seriously, are not pretentious, don’t come out of trying to please, yet just transcend the here and now—they are metaphysical. Saying that Talia Paz is a larger than life dancer is a cliché. This misses what her dance does: in many ways, she is larger than the stage, larger than the time and place she inhabits, and with her, she takes the audience in a journey towards the sublime.
The entire evening was dedicated to Nira Paz z”l, who was present in so many ways. It is impossible to imagine the Israeli dance world without her, and her legacy and what she has left for so many dancers will remain with us forever. Past and future blend in the art of now, dance. George Balanchine said: “there is only now”. But the present has the future, as an inseparable part of it, a rich past that is part of us forever and a possibility for a future we do not yet know. This was not a memorial but an evening of a living, breathing and dancing legacy.
And so, that which exists and that which doesn’t, the essence and the void, the present and that which is hidden, all dancing together in eternal dialectic, and give the audience one moment of transcendence after the other. After hard years of loss, separation and alienation, we all transcend together thanks to Michael Getman and Talia Paz. The heart expands and compassion and light fill the theater as well as the world. The gap between the human and the sublime becomes blurred, and we all, for one evening, become part of this magic.
“And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
When the tongues of the flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one”
TS Eliot, Little Gidding, Four Quartets
Dana Mills received her doctorate from the University of Oxford in 2014. She has held teaching and research positions at the University of Oxford, Tel Aviv University, Northwestern University, University of Amsterdam, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, American Dance Festival, New York Center for Ballet and the Arts and Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, among others.. She is the author of Dance and Politics: Moving beyond Boundaries (2016), Rosa Luxemburg (2020) and Dance and Activism: 100 years of radical dance across the world (2021). In March 2021 she returned to Israel to take up the position of Director of Development and External Relations at Peace Now