Julie Gayer Kris
I created a dance in collaboration with dancers Meredith Lyn Olivieri, Sarah Zitnay, Leah Ives, and creative consultant Magdalen Pierrakos. In my experience throughout the year of text study about Pardes, I found myself flooded with imagery and emotion. In the dance, I tried to capture the feeling of entering the orchard through bringing in elements of nature and an alternative reality. Also, I choreographed an opening section including the dancers and audience participating in a series of tasks such as pouring dirt, writing prayers on paper, ripping the paper, placing the paper on the stage in a pile of branches, placing branches and chairs around the space to evoke the seemingly mundane rituals we must undertake if we seek to enter a mystical garden. To the backdrop of an eerie soundscape blending whale sounds, nature sounds and other sound effects created by Alon Nechushtan, the dancers danced in a world that conjured up the desert and included the dragging of a long bright red cloth throughout the space. We also set about untangling yarn tangled through chairs to the soundtrack of people discussing, reading and trying to understand the text of Pardes. The dancers ended up climbing through the chairs and creating a moving pile/sculpture of the tangled up chairs. Reviewer Elizabeth McPherson said, "Through the use of music and movement, both dance based and task-oriented, I felt that entered a new undiscovered realm, mysterious and unreal, timeless and sacred, but entirely fascinating and welcoming. It is a world I would like to explore further."