Don’t Miss Hevel!

by Tamara Johnson, independent reviewer

Whether you’re a dance lover or creatively curious, do yourself a favor and see Keshet Dance Company’s Hevel! Titled after the Hebrew word for steam, vapor, futility, folly, emptiness, or vanity, Hevel is a gorgeous meditation on time, patience, and change. 

Choreographer Ana Lopes Aréchiga takes the audience on a journey through the “in between times,” exploring what happens during the pauses between ideas, decisions, or actions to make the next moment or step happen. “I am inspired by the permanence contrasted by the ephemerality of our experience of never-ending states of waiting, for example through experiences of loss or even our over-awareness of time,” says Lopes Aréchiga. “It’s been fascinating to explore imagery from dreams, states of deep inner focus, and anchoring on experiences of little control, to then find how we can center ourselves in community and our strengths to process and continue growing.” In addition to her exquisite use of oneiric imagery, Lopes Aréchiga’s choreography creates mathematical patterns with space and time that feel like weaving being crafted on a loom. It’s a truly special and profoundly relatable piece. 

The Keshet Dance Company realizes Lopes Aréchiga’s vision of deep inner focus and dream imagery with stunning clarity and intention. Each dancer brings a unique and beautiful movement style to the work, which is both highly challenging and visually evocative. The mental stamina and technical skill on display are really impressive, but it’s easy to forget that as everyone moves so smoothly through the piece. In one of many stand-out moments, a dancer seems to be pulling tendrils of story or dream from her subconscious. It feels like an arresting and intimate glimpse inside the mind of a muse.

Hevel follows Keystones as Keshet Dance Company’s second original, full-length work of this year. While Hevel could be interpreted as a retrospective consideration of the waiting we all endured during quarantine, Keystones is an exuberant celebration of our collective survival and emergence from that time. 

The piece is named for the stone that allows an archway to hold together. This architectural wonder resonates deeply with me when I think about the structure of Keshet, and the process of constructing and layering the many bricks of the organization over the years,” says Keshet Founder and Artistic Director and Keystones choreographer Shira Greenberg. “The keystone in this narrative is two-fold: The dancers themselves, and the immense grace, authenticity, vulnerability, strength, and power they bring to our community and to their individual artistry every day; and Dance itself—this universal language of movement, and the power, energy, and strength this art form generates for us, individually and as a community.”

Greenberg has uncanny intuition and ability when it comes to art making with a community focus that empowers and creates joy. For instance, you probably haven’t realized that life has been missing raucous contemporary dance to a punk-pirate sea shanty, but oh boy will you be energized and delighted once you’ve experienced it!

Hevel premiers November 18 and 19, at 6:30pm, at Keshet Center for the Arts. Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in this beautiful and powerful expression of hope, effort, and creation.

For tickets and more info, please visit KeshetArts.org/Events

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