text: Timy Crofony
photo: archiv Days of Jerusalem
First I met Sofia during the amazing Days of Jerusalem at Stalin place in Prague. She was introduced by my friend Roman Lesný, who published czech versions of Start-Up Nation book about Israel’s economic miracle and graphic novel Mike´s Place. Two days later in NoD (after DEPO 2015 and Alta studio in Prague), where her choreography WHITE PIECE was presented, I find out why he was so curious about her. Her piece was innovative, full of modest gradation and emotional twists – it got what it deserved: big ovations! Sofia lives in Jerusalem, in the most controversial city on the world where everything is possible and yet nothing is. She graduated from Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.
Sofia, could you tell me more about your background? You were born and raised in Jerusalem?
I was born in Haifa, but we moved to Jerusalem when I was very little and since then I was raised in Jerusalem!
The reason why I´m asking: I´ve always considered Jerusalem very different in comparison to the relaxed atmosphere of Tel Aviv or Haifa. In Jerusalem, you always feel the presence of some unnamed pressure or tension. Do you feel the same? How did the life in Jerusalem affected your work if somehow?
Yes, I totally agree that Jerusalem have a special and different air and environment. It’s more heavy and serious,not easy going but very very special. I feel I have a lot of air and space for creation and I’m not influenced by different artist – I have a neutral environment.
Israeli dancing scene is quite famous in czech republic. Did you see the czech domucentary “Israel is dancing”?
No I didn’t but I will definitely see it later!
You came to Pilsen and Prague to present your work White Piece at Days of Jerusalem. What were your expectations?
I was very curious about it, it was hard to imagine what will be the connection between the dancers and me and how it will affect me and influence me. I was ready to absorb as much as possible and to find the connection to me, to my language, to my esthetics and to my artistic research.
How did you change the prepared choreography in the interaction with czech dancers?
I find the subject of the choreography during the last summer war! It was hard to connect and hard to find the correct emotions that express that pain. I didn’t find it real when the Czech dancers was trying to express it. I understand that they connect in a deeper way to the power of the femininity in the group and as individual that they are in a task to explore and show the feminine side of it in a show. They explored how to let themselves to be feminine and powerful. It was beautiful.
It´s interesting that you mention the last summer war! I saw your work at NoD together with two friends- one boy and one girl. After the show we talked about it. The girl-friend told me she felt that the choreography is about feminity- how every woman around the world is the same, she has the same feelings, same problems, we are weak yet we are strong in our way…The boy-friend though talked about the conflict in the choreography: he felt that it´s not about the power of women but mainly about the clash of civilizations- the european (western) one presented by Ode an die Freude theme and the oriental (or eastern) one presented by the arabic mellody. Could you comment it?
I agree totally with this two opinions they both are there. I was trying to deal with this two realities.
Personally I more incline to the first one: I loved how you showed the tension in every woman: the inner fight between feminity and masculinity presented in very strong and agressive parts in comparison to very sensual and passionate ones. It shows also hysterical sides of feminity and the temptation and also the inner little girl in every grown up woman.
Cool, I like it!
In the second half you used whistles…How did you come up with this idea? Is that the moment when you remembered the war, when we all have to take orders? Or was it more about the womenhood taking orders by men in this macho world?
I felt that adding a bit of color and new sound it would connect the esthetic language the sport, the army, the girls, the macho all in one in that whistles.
Dance has its own international language, maybe more precisesly it is the international language of its own. Do you think that dancers in Israel and in Czech republic use the same “vocabulary”?
The vocabulary is international but I feel that the way of expression is individual and not about geographic place .
Do you have some role model or guru who you adore?
I love the performance artist Marina Abramovic.
I totally agree! How important in your work is repetitive movements and sequences and “dresscodes” or “uniforms” ?
Repetitive movement and uniform is the way I zoom into the subject I explore- hence I get a full image in the minimalist world I try to create. Minimalistic image with simple repetition.
And the last question: what are you plans?
With this piece? Or general? In general: To create, explore, discover and connect to emotions .
Thank you, it was fun!