In an attempt to diminish the barrier between performer and audience, dancemaker Ohad Naharin’s KAMUYOT—performed at Fall For Dance North by the Charlotte Ballet—creates a space in which the dancers interact directly with us. You can choose your mode of interaction: though the dancers will look directly at any and everyone—with house lights up—the immediate front row of benches is the definitive friendly zone where they will sit with you, engage and invite you up to briefly take part.
The whole show, just under an hour, is essentially a series of invitations. A single dancer will find a solo rhythm and connection to the music, establish a vibe, and then the rest of the troupe will stand and join. Dressed in white button down shirts with colourful plaid kilts and pants, there is a scholastic aesthetic that feels uniform yet playful.
There is a really great mix of musical styles here and the transitions seem quite deliberately jarring—our attention pulled specifically towards shifts in the flavour of the music. Throughout, there is a palpable sense of joy in their movement that really permeates the whole group and extends out into the audience.
We are seated surrounding the open dancefloor on four sides. Consistently, bits of choreography are repeated four times, facing each of section of audience. In this way, everyone gets a chance to feel the performative energy directed at us, but also experience each segment from multiple vantage points.
I was quite unexpectedly moved by the segment in which the dancers walk a lap around the audience, offering out their hands to the patrons in the front row. Each individual holding of hands lasts considerably longer than a traditional handshake, providing an authentic sense of intimacy and purposeful acknowledgement.
The finale turns into a dance party. There is very little pressure; you can choose to join or else make your exit. Once the dancers have started their invitations to come up and dance, leading participants in a communal event, they subtly leave the space. Gradually, you realize that you’re a collection of gathered people sharing a space and the instigators have all but vanished.
An unassuming, exhilarating, emotionally dynamic and accessible work.