"Jazz is my adventure, I’m after new chords, new ways of syncopating, new figures, new runs. How to use notes differently. That’s it. Just using notes differently."

Thelonious Monk

My work revolves around a continuous process of dis-covering and elaborating sets of structures, which hopefully offer makers and audiences, an environment for possible insights and a kind of understanding.

In that sense, all of my pieces have the same subject, theme, aim and purpose. They all look into the same questions and are the continuation of the same investigation. The different pieces then, are glimpses into specific moments along that process. The distinct form and character each piece takes, is the result of the tools available to the dancers and myself at a certain point and the overall conditions at that time. However strange it may sound, some pieces are created at "better" points along that line while others are just a means of pushing it forward. I feel "Brilliant Corners" is being created at one of those "better" moments of clear understanding.

"Brilliant Corners" is the title of an album by Jazz musician Thelonious Monk (1917 - 1982) released in 1957. I like the way in which the naming of a piece can start a line of thought. In that sense, I feel this title is a beautiful example for the use of words as concrete matter. It cannot be understood verbally, yet it generates a clear sense of meaning.

Monk’s music appears in no way in the score of this piece, but many aspects of his music are very much present. I have found in this music endless inspiration for dance making.

The process of creating "Brilliant Corners" was one with special revelatory qualities for me. It allowed me to write this text in the sense that its clarity, enabled a transposition of content from intuitive knowledge and a language anchored in sensorial perception, to verbal form.

I think of choreography as a set of (constantly reexamined and reconfigured) processes, leading to the elaboration of kinetic human structures. I look upon the choreographic structure as bearer of meaning. A concentrated substance, a place of contemplation. I aim for an environment where structural clarity, serves as a vehicle for sensorial and intellectual study able to perceive the world with both emotion and reason. I look for choreography which is both sensuous and intelligent. It is expression monitored, distilled, explored and manipulated into considered form. The structure itself is never the goal. At most, it may possess subtle qualities, which, at certain moments, permit us to understand something that we were never able to understand in quite this way before.

For me, a structure emerges, rather than being pre-planed and imposed. The prevailing state of mind is one that carefully follows an emerging structure, taking shape through space and time with as little interventions as possible. Structures, choreographic or any other, are the result of an infinite number of forces resulting in structural entities (ever changing in this case). The choreographic structure evolves naturally, this process calls for a constant abandoning of a pre-planed structure, and the reliance on the option of a self-generated one - one that is the sum of the human and environmental forces active at a certain time and space-related process. It is the direct manifestation of the way these forces are embodied by the dancers and as such, it is anything but abstract - it calls for a profound reading of its human qualities.

What might seem a process involving chance or random devised mechanisms is in fact exactly the opposite. Each and every moment along that constantly evolving structure, is the result of endless data directly related to it. In allowing this data to determine key structural elements, a presence of "realness" is injected into the choreography and a wealth of visual forms and atmospheres emerges. A quality reminiscent of naturally grown things that do not carry any signs or messages. The structure that emerges escapes my control and opens an intriguing process regarding the ability and need to question its "rightness". I think it is this same "rightness", which makes the natural structures around us bearers of meaning in the way they inspire and touches us deeply. Choreography making is certainly less passive than watching a tree grow, a passing flock of birds, or a moving crowd, but for me it holds a lot in common with the revelatory powers of these primordial structures.

Choreographies must be allowed to "happen". They seem to contain an inherently appropriate order that determines their form as well as their dramaturgical substance. This essence is what I want to discover and I therefore stick firmly to the matter at hand when working. I look for the accuracy of the moment and a truth content in real, sensorial experiences, which are beyond opinions or ideas. I allow the research apparatus itself to generate and determine the structure. I focus on the exploration rather than on a desired result. I take no position, address no issue, and I feel that this is exactly what allows the work to reveal all manners of the human condition. What makes it relevant to us in the ‘here and now’.

The choreography should betray a sense of evolution. The process of trial, speculation, experiment and revision is a raw one and the work must bear these marks. There is no point in looking at the process of elaborating a choreography, as something with a clear end. It is in constant evolution and I try looking at it from that dynamic angle. It has no 'final destination' built into its logic (the premier is definitely not one). It never fails to surprise me, make me reconsider what I though I knew and lead me in unexpected directions. In that sense I am never "making" a choreography but rather creating an environment solid enough to contain the conditions needed for a choreography to emerge.

This notion of structure as the result of a well determined environment resembles the kind of structures, which emerge through games - from the simplest children’s game all the way to professional sports. If I think of the complexity and 'rightness' of these structures (the 40 minutes "choreography" for 10 players in any basketball game is a good example), I easily recognize logics, mechanisms, dynamics and atmospheres, which exist in choreographies. The same blend of the serious with the playful. (If I have to use one term to describe what the studio feels like when working on a new piece, it will definitely be 'playground'). But however exhilarating these structural games may be to me, there is a fundamental difference.

To choreograph is to cause something to emerge. In that sense, people and movements becoming a choreography, is a form of truth happening, it is the creative bringing forth of a unique human and physical event. The process is all about how truth can be manifested through structure. This is accomplished mainly by understanding the nature of the choreographic structure, through a process of 'setting it free to be nothing but itself'. The choreographic structure makes present, or uncovers, the being of that which is presented (truth). It is the becoming and happening of that specific truth.

Although long ridiculed by both artists and theorists, beauty (how ever wide and relative its definition may be) is still the simplest most effective means of identifying the presence of a significant artistic substance. From an almost scientific point of view, I would argue that beauty is one way in which "truth" reveals itself. Use it or not, this makes it an invaluable tool in any kind of investigation. (learning how to let go of it however, is fundamental for understanding its place in the artistic process)

In its simplest form, dance (as well as choreography for that matter, and there is a clear distinction between the two) is in no need of music. It already incorporates the essence of the musical substance and as such, is very much a self-sufficient form of expression. The built-in paradox of course, is that dance is almost never found outside a direct musical context. It is a haunting question, since the more I feel comfortable within the choreographic environment the less I feel the need to have a musical presence. A choreographic proposition is capable of touching each and every question that will arise during the creative process. It doesn't need a mediator or support of any kind, and it certainly cannot be reduced to mere interpretation of music.

And still, the paradox exists. I probably won't confine myself to only making choreographies without music at all.

My use of music over the years evolved in different ways, not surprisingly I arrived at the point of making dance without any kind of music. Once in that peaceful limbo of intense focus, it was impossible for me to look at music/dance relations in the same way. Working in an environment where the only sound information is the one coming from the dance itself, allowed the development of numerous and extremely elaborate choreographic tools. It exposed procedures of processing data related to sound during the construction and execution of both the dancing and the compositional aspects of the choreography, which were to a large extent unconscious and/or under-used. It changed my understanding on how the work is being perceived - how exploring the way in which seeing and hearing are linked, is key for the elaboration of a complex inter-sensory event.

The evident step in order to move out from silence was "choreographing the music" - In "Brilliant Corners" I am starting to look at the choreographic mechanisms as something that if applied to sound, could result in a musical environment that can answer that paradox for me. A starting point in which the music is no longer a fixed and given entity, something to interpret, 'solve' or 'deal with' but a parallel growing organism. This opens numerous and new ways of interweaving and confronting movement and sound. It gives me access to a new territory in which I can explore choreography/music relations, through the fact they are both using the same tools of construction. Most important, it enables the creation of a sonic environment in which the dance is not deprived of its autonomous musical qualities and tools. 

One of the most revealing and fascinating aspects of this relation, has to do with the way music changes our dance-time perception. The closest we can get to having a notion of time in the context of dance, is to see it without music. This allows us to hear the dance. When music comes in, our perception of time (in all its aspects, fast, slow, long, short, condensed, wide etc.) changes radically. The option of experimenting with the contrapuntal potential of the visual and the auditory, is at the center of both the choreographic and musical scores of "Brilliant Corners". It is a slow and thrilling process of looking into the nature of that extremely charged space, lying in between the two art forms.

The basic musical material for "Brilliant Corners" was created over a period of almost two years. It is the combination of several independent scores I have created separately, which were edited into a new larger soundtrack. The digital technology available today and the tools it offers for the editing and manipulation of sound, result in endless compositional procedures and a complex chain of reference for the creation of new musical forms. A carefully spatially layered sound design was created for the diffusion of the music. The fine tuning and elaboration of specific sound environments, is an extremely creative tool in the creation of the exact sonic space a specific music requires, in a specific theater, and in relation to a specific choreography.

I have always found that recorded music works better for me in the context of choreography. The possibility to experience the music without any additional live information coming from the actions of an on stage musician, seems a more open environment for choreography. By allowing the choreographic element alone the option of being spontaneous, it releases it in a way I find important. It gives the dance full authority and sole responsibility for the creation of the live moment.

Stage light is a way of focusing the mind. In the absence of a set, light, together with the choreography itself and the physical environment created through sound, is a central mean of determining the space. I think of it as an independent entity. Its reasons for existing in the theatrical space are not related solely to the dance. It works in a similar way to a camera framing a part of space according to its own logics, independent of the things happening in and outside of the frame it determines. It follows its own rules (when filming dance I always aim at still frames - it’s the dance that should moves through it. The dance and the frame are independent and it is that which makes both of them shine clearly).

Light helps me acquire a sense of scale and dimension. It shapes what I see and gives it form that I am capable of understanding. It provides dramaturgical substance and a means of further defining and enhancing the space, the choreography and time passing. 

The artificial stage light I try to create incorporates the qualities of natural light. I look for that sense of distance between the source of light and the bodies, structures, surfaces, materials, colours and shapes, which radiate in it (theatres are never high enough...). I look for a light which exists in a way that allows it to ignore whatever is happening in it. Sunlight acknowledges none of the objects and events it falls on and yet I can’t think of a more intimate light/object relation. I like the way the choreography captures that light (or absence of light). The way it reflects it, moves in it, screens it off, and makes us aware of it. 

The most fascinating areas on stage are usually the edges of light. I am trying to make these as significant as the areas of full light or total darkness. I like the way in which parts of the choreography happening in the dark, hold my attention much more than ones in full light. I look for the moments when the choreography "falls" into these dark areas and reemerges back into light. I like the ability of light to transform a stage into landscape. I try to infuse this outdoor quality into the laboratory conditions of the theatre. I like the neverending game of finding the right way to switch the light ON and OFF for each choreography, stage, music, group of dancers, audience. The variations are infinite and it’s always a fascinating riddle to solve. I like the idea of a clear concentrated source of light rather than numerous scattered ones. I look for creating an extremely present light with the simplest means. I am trying to understand the movement aspects of light. How natural light is constantly moving and changing its qualities (angles, intensity, colours, brightness, contrast), even though we feel it more than we are actually able to see it. These changes are not relating to things and events caught in them and yet, it all makes so much sense together.

Light is the only element of my work which I don't feel the urge to inject with a naturalistic feel. A light of almost artificial qualities always balanced Caravaggio’s explosive use of naturalism in his paintings. As if he had used HMI lamps hundred of years before electricity. It's a tension I feel close to when I think of how I want to light choreography. Light is a powerful means of removing things from the world of the merely mundane. It plays a central role in the possibility of transfiguration.

When I examine the whole (the piece, the work), I see clearly the need to understand and develop these three different elements (choreography, music and light), as separate and independent entities. Any attempt to bend one of them towards another, results in the destruction of its inner logic. It is not a question of acknowledging the fact that none of them is an illustration or mere support for the others - that would be too simple. I think it has to do with the notion that structures will co-exist only if they hold an independent logic, a kind of "correctness" which is their own. If this is achieved for each structure separately, when placed together in the same space and time frame, their fullest independent potential will resonate powerfully and at the same time a synergy will be naturally born.

This phenomenon which happens constantly and effortlessly in nature (Did we ever have the feeling that the patterns, rhythms, motion, colours and sounds of the sky do not match the ones of a passing flock of birds?), is very much present in man-made structures and is crucial for the understanding of the organisation mechanisms of a choreographic work as a whole. 

I think this merging quality is primarily related to the fact that “correct” structures are OPEN. When the logic of a certain structure is impeccable (and this has nothing to do with the simplistic notion of perfection), it inhabits inviting qualities. It will merge easily with other structures to create larger and dynamic systems. When this doesn’t happen, when artificial structures "bounce-off " of each other, it is a symptom pointing to problems in the structures themselves. Certain "leaks" in the structural mechanism that need to be found and solved. The challenge is to ‘get the structures right’, each one separately. If this phase is solved, putting them together is all too easy (and always so exiting...).

I never get tired of seeing how the music of Bach (especially the one for keyboard), accepts whatever movement or choreography you propose to it. You cannot be wrong (unless of course you are one of those guardian of tradition...). You cannot be off-beat, off-rhythm, wrong in your choice of dynamics etc. It is structure so complex, clear and "right", it can ‘handle’ any other structure inhabiting the same space. Taking this one step further, will be looking at how different interpreters of the same music can enhance this openness, or muffle it (exactly as with movement).


However small this aspect may seem in relation to the "big" issues, I feel it holds much more than meets the eye. Is it a structure? Not really, I look at it more as a composition. Should my objective be to try and eliminate it as much as possible or on the contrary - use it to make a statement? Is there an answer regarding the costumes for each choreography separately, or is there an answer solid enough to be applied to all the work I make? These are open question I enjoy asking anew every time. 


Choreography is an artificial event, taking place in an artificial space and time zone. It is a living artifact created by man. It exists though within a time that is very real, a consonance of nature and an artificially created living object. Within this context, a visceral sense of naturalism is constantly applied to many aspects of the work.

The immediate tension created by the presence of naturalistic qualities within the artificial theatrical space, is a main focus for me. The special aroma of that blend fascinates me. 

Its most obvious manifestation is in the direct, un-stylized, non-symbolic state of being aimed for by the dancers. The sense of intimacy between the dancer's self and his actions, is the result of a relentless search to eliminate the gap between a represented, symbolic and metaphorical state of being, and one in which the 'live' on-stage action, becomes an end all in itself. It seeks to "exist" within the performance context and becomes the very thing that it depicts.

But what exactly does naturalism means within a theatrical context? I think it is the ability to fully, simply and honestly "be". When stripped down to its basic elements, the situation in which a group of dancers performs a certain choreography on a specific stage/time frame and in front of a specific audience, is all the information needed. The situation calls for real physical and mental effort. The choreography at hand contains many elements related directly to its different mechanisms, which need to be acknowledged. All this is more than enough to create a 'real' context for the dancers to simply ‘do their thing’.

The dancers are encouraged to 'do' rather than 'explain'. It frees them to concentrate on their actions in a direct and unemotional manner, and it is precisely for this reason that the option for strong emotional impact is constantly present since there is no wish to stir up emotions, but to allow them to emerge. 

The reluctance to use idealized forms and acting patterns creates a quality of seemingly involuntary vividness, thus creating a vibrant atmosphere pervaded by the simple on-stage presence. The dancers, as well as the work itself, do not exist as vehicles for any kind of message, but are intimately related to the life which happens in, and around them. In its final state, the work has its place in the concrete world during the time it is being performed, and in many ways afterwards as well. This is where it makes its statements. Its presence is self-evident. It reaches beyond signs and symbols. Our perception of the work is freed, since there is nothing that cannot be understood.

The emerging paradox of how an artificial event behaves as being anything but artificial, finds its answer in the way the artistic substance touches the essence of reality, and in how the work is being released to its pure self-subsistence. When performed in front of an audience, the work as a whole strives to become reality setting itself to choreographic substance. By behaving consciously as "reality", the choreographic event becomes the reproduction of the essence of reality. By doing this, the work moves itself into the world, or more accurately, sets itself BACK into the world as the result of a kind of reciprocal and symbiotic relation between the work and the world.

When this happens, the work becomes self-contained, composed without the least trace of effort or artificiality. Everything is as it should be, everything is in its place. No overstated arrangement, no alien intentions, no commentary. The experience is unintentional. What I see is the thing itself. The dance appears extremely natural and at the same time extremely artful in its naturalness. It is interesting to note in relation to this, that I feel it is impossible for me to present my work in open theatres. There is an inherent conflict in that situation, a kind of collision of realities.  

What is “real” and where does it rest when thinking about choreography? How to generate credibility and that sense of the quiet drama of reality? The central key to answer this question revolves around the human presence. Living among people is the basic principle of human existence. In this sense, we are never within an abstract world but always in a world of people. This human presence and the forces it generates, contain an exact reference to what reality means to me as a choreographer. People, being part of reality, inherently bring that substance into the work. The human touch.

It is not the detached reality of theories, it is the reality of concrete human beings engaged in action. It is the reality of individuals’ instincts, physicality, preferences, likes and dislikes, cravings, humor, fears, decisions, sense of responsibility and the reality of their choices and actions, which brings meaning and sensuousness so that the dance can be. It is never mere imitation of reality but a place in which new awareness and new realities are born. It is the magic of the real, of the physical, of human substance, which can be seen, heard, touched.

The magic of the real - I see this as the alchemy of transforming choreographic data into human sensation. Of creating that special moment when matter (people moving, sound, light), can truly be emotionally appropriated or assimilated.

A dance that sets out from and returns to real people.

I like the idea of creating choreographies from which I can withdraw to a large extent during the process, leaving behind an environment for the dancers. A place where dancers can find composure and a self-evident state of being, which allows them to be present, to find their integrity, their sensuousness. A place that makes them feel sheltered but challenged, humble but proud. An environment of excitement and confusion, optimism and danger, expectations and anxiety, doubts and opportunities.

The dancers need to accept the challenge of looking long, patiently, and exactly, in order to dis-cover and understand. They create all of the movement material - I try to install sets of rules and constraints that push them towards a state of mind in which they are discovering, rather than inventing movement. The same rules will call upon their generosity and sense of responsibility.

The dancer's work lies in the premise of the physical, objective sensuousness of movement. To create dance means to discover and consciously work with the immediate qualities of movement in its most basic forms.

When I stand in front of a group of dancers, I always feel the presence of some inner tension that refers to something over and above the immediate sum of individuals - the choreographic potential of a specific group of dancers. To ignore this and impose a choreography I feel would be a lack of genuine concern for that potential and its emanation from the group. If choreography is concerned only with trends and sophisticated visions without triggering vibrations in the dancers, the work is not anchored in the individuals who embody it. It looses the ability to become personal.

I am always looking for a way to allow the dancers to be present authentically, to retain their individual personality, strengths and flaws. To emanate the intensity of feeling that is evoked by the honesty of the human presence.

Much before it makes any references to music, the dance is first of all concerned with its own musicality. It is this aspect of the moving individual body and the musicality of the overall choreographic structure that gives the dance its inner logic.

The work plunges enthusiastically into a detailed research of the physical musicality as a driving force for theatrical substance, and a revelatory mechanism of dance making. It is an exploration of musicality as a series of detailed decisions, which create an environment of extreme attention and awareness, a transparent clarity which illuminates the unfolding choreographic matter.

One of the most revealing aspects of musicality when thinking about dance, lies in the single dancer's musical interpretation of a movement phrase. I look for dancers who observe the movement as they do it and are responding to the built-in data regarding its musicality. They will never impose rhythms, accents, dynamics that are not already there. They acknowledge the fact that the act of dancing has to do primarily with discovering existing substances. They understand the responsibility of identifying this existing information, and the fact that there is no sense in looking at a certain line of movement as something waiting for their imposed musical interpretation. They realize virtuosity lies in their ability to fully expose these musical layers, which the specific movements already inhabit.

The movement material created and used by the dancers is anchored around an elemental approach to man's use of movement. It is movement we recognise, but a long process of re-examination and manipulation renders it beyond our immediate comprehension and takes those once familiar things into unfamiliar territory. I try to push the dancers towards an intellectual and physical understanding of movement as something they are not supposed to 'go for' but rather let it come to them. To find the mental and corporal states in which they absorb movement instead of spiting it out. In short, to accept seeing the gaps between themselves and their moving body as a powerful tool for awareness (here again, the notion of listening/dis-covering rather than inventing/producing is central).

It is the choreographic context which gives it later its sense - the whole that makes sense of the detail - BUT, already in its basic form, movement must possess a unique feeling of intensity and mood, of presence and rightness.

By finding a meaningful way of interlocking and superimposing these materials, the choreography assumes a depth and richness. In order for the basic movement material to merge and blend into the overall structure of the finished choreography, it must inhabit a strong sense of 'reason'. This will bring together appearance and a sense of "function" into a whole. When we look at the dancers moving our eyes, guided by our analytical mind, tend to stray and look for detail to hold on to. But everything refers to everything, the synthesis of the whole does not become comprehensible through isolated details. At this moment the initial material, movement phrases, counterpoint devices and overall compositions, fade into the background. Whatever was necessary for the creation of the whole disappears, and the work assumes the focal position and is itself, unfolding through space and time, soon to become a memory.

I listen to movement. Sometimes much more than I look at it. I listen to the way it unfolds in space, in time, in relation to more movement and in the presence of stillness. I look for movement that has an inherent sense of forward motion, which guides my eye, takes me places. I let movement fall into place (even when it falls out of place and I choose to leave it there), until the right movement is in the right place, in the right time (it never stays that way for long...).

Movement can be the most revealing, spontaneous and truthful rendering of the human essence. Its immediacy makes it the echo of personality and it holds revelatory powers of the innermost human intuitions and sensitivities. I look for movement not made in the pursuit of content or beauty, but one that conveys, in its immediacy and intimacy, a persuasive sense of simple truth, a kind of honesty.

A choreographic work consists of an enormous amount of carefully treated and assembled details. This of course is the case in all forms of art, but the special ephemeral character of dance and the fact that it leaves no objects or documentation behind, sheds a different light on this. The huge amount of work put into creating and organizing these details, won't leave any trace through a concrete object available for further reading and examining. I believe this fact lies at the heart of understanding dance's inner sense and true nature.

The precision of details to which choreography-making aspires, is in direct conflict with our society’s need to trace, conserve, document, possess, record and so on. It challenges our habits. It is not aligned with our usual procedures of acquiring knowledge and developing readership.

When two dancers spend weeks elaborating and understanding the physical and musical counterpoint created by their two twenty-second-long phrases, trying to zoom-in as much as possible on the infinite details needing attention, they are performing an almost subversive action.

I think this dissonance between what dance-making is and the conventions of our culture, creates a tension, which holds valuable insights.

One way to look into the work would be to say that there are no ideas except the work itself. That the purpose of the work is first of all to direct the sensorial perception to the choreographic reality itself, and out of this to later awaken our intellectual mind to the fundamental questions about life, culture, society and the world around us. Preconceived ideas and stylistically pre-fabricated formal and intellectual concepts only block access to this goal.

The absence of ideas preceding the actual creation process leaves it open. Open to numerous and perhaps endless layers of meaning that overlap and interweave. Open to change as we change our angle of observation creating a multifaceted choreographic event. This openness is the result of clarity. Of highly accurate attention along the process, of meticulous definition of details, of the outmost precision in every single choice being made. Richness and multiplicity emanate from clarity and from the things themselves (the work and the people involved), when observed attentively and given their due.

By avoiding the formulation of preliminary ideas, both the dancers and myself endeavor to look at the questions arising from the choreographic process. Questions that later take a physical shape. It is always surprising and exhilarating to discover that phase of the work. It possesses a primordial force reaching deeper than the mere arrangement of stylistically preconceived ideas and concepts. Occupying oneself with the inherent laws of concrete things such as movement, time, space and people in connection with dance making, offers a chance of apprehending and expressing primal attributes of these elements within a contemporary context.

The absence of preceding ideas, the openness of the proposition and its overall clarity, are what ultimately allow us to feel comfortable in front of something which we cannot fully apprehend. To accept the offer of grasping it in its infinite unintelligibility. To let go of the need for an abundance of interpretation on content, which leads to "stifling" the work, usually for the purpose of making it comfortable and "manageable", but at the cost of degrading its original intention.

"What is important now is to recover our senses. We must learn to see more, to hear more, to feel more. Our task is not to find the maximum content in a work of art, much less to squeeze more content out of it than is already there. The aim now must be to make the work of art and, by analogy, our own experience, more rather than less real to us."

- Susan Sontag, 'Against Interpretation'

Weird means something you never heard before. It’s weird until people get around it. Than it ceases to be weird.

- Thelonious Monk

Choreography is looking at questions arising in a certain time and place, by a certain group of people, through certain sets of tools and processes. This is what makes it contemporary in the deepest sense. I think that choreography today needs to reflect on the tasks and possibilities which are inherently its own.