Upstage right a block of light falls on a female dancer creating first steps, first balances. Ritual, repetitive poses render the body fluid and sinewy; her back and arms stretched almost to a point of dislocation. A male dancer appears upstage left, palm-led and upturned. The deliberation on movement and tempo is slow and intense. This is the debut of Israeli L-E-V Dance Company at Sadler’s Wells in OCD Love; it is raw in honesty and beauty.
Choreographer Sharon Eyal draws inspiration from poet Neil Hilborn’s poignant text, OCD, which became a ‘viral internet sensation’ in 2013; but when I saw her the only thing I could think about was the hairpin curl of her lips. It’s about love found, love lost and the minutiae-sidewalk-cracks in between. As light illuminates the stage, design by Thierry Dreyfus, six dancers explore an inside-out sensory world in which tics, gesture and dance meld and re-form in an increased melee of sound, light and movement.
The intricacy and precision of the dancers is sharply delineated; their commitment and talent undeniable. A central movement involving two male dancers is breath-takingly beautiful in its micro-focus and power. While Eyal displays theatrical flair, worthy of Pina Bausch, in a series of repetitive foot shuffles and a singular moment in which the dancers, for the first time, see each other.
There is a monochrome-feel, throughout, as light strikes black surfaces, carving out and creating space for the tightly sprung choreography; while the dancers’ high-class bordello costumes, Odelia Arnold, accentuate sinuous limbs and taut muscles. The ear does need to attune to the sound, created by musician Ori Lichtik, as a rhythmic simple tattoo gives way to a sonorous filmic score or full-bass, techno, club-beat. Yet retrospectively, it adds to the convergence of Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar’s rich, artistic ideas.
L-E-V Dance Company is one to watch.