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Dance review: Hillel Kogan defies the black & white nature of relationships in The Swan and The Pimp

Dance review: Hillel Kogan defies the black & white nature of relationships in The Swan and The Pimp
© Tamar Lamm

When the crowd first enters the intimate Inbal Theater tucked behind Suzanne Dellal square, it's difficult to tell whether the two dancers on stage are warming up or whether their fast-paced banter is part of the performance.

 

Adorned in colorful track suits–a stark contrast to the set's whitewashed walls–the young Carmel Ben Asher launches into a manic soliloquy questioning what it means to be 'authentic,' while her mentor, Hillel Kogan, stretches by her side.

 

This opening scene sets the tone and hints at the storyline of a whirlwind relationship between Kogan and Ben Asher, mentor and apprentice, cat and mouse, swan and pimp.

 

The Swan and The Pimp

© Tamar Lamm

In a little over an hour,  through a series of short scenes that each take on their own personality, the two dancers run through an entire span of emotions. From an unbreakable lust exhibited in their contemporary movements as a human pretzel, to their erratic fist pumping to techno beats and ultra violet lights, the audience joins Kogan and Ben Asher on this trying journey of discovery.

 

While the musical styles go from one extreme to another, one aspect remains constant; a pulsating beat fuels the movements of both individuals whether they are thrashing to Rejoicer or spreading their wings to Tchaikovsky.

 

Kogan's brilliance shines through in his ability to inject humor into the whole show. He whips out unexpected talents like rapping, leaving the audience in a fit of laughter, and even emerges in a surprise 'costume' in the final scene to put forth an epilogue that comes full circle as the initial vulnerabilities of a young dancer in crisis are transposed onto the once confident choreographer.

 

The Swan and The Pimp

© Tamar Lamm

 

Many performances grace the halls of the Suzanne Dellal Center, yet the immersive nature of Hillel Kogan's carefully crafted piece draws the audience in from the moment they step foot inside the building right up to the prolonged applause as the lights come back on. Simply put, Kogan has done it again.

 

Reserve your tickets for their return January 1-2.

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