Performing Arts Series: The Man of the Hour #1 By Yossi Zwecker

Performing Arts Series: The Man of the Hour #1 By Yossi Zwecker

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Performed by eight male dancers and two female opera singers, this performance, choreographed by Itzik Galili, is a commentary on Israeli maleness and its search for a way to forge a personal identity within the national one. These photographs capture the dancers’ virtuoso performance and their fatigue, transforming their movements into a perpetual moment trapped in time; a vague, green-gray zone blurred by exhaustion and effort, bodies hovering in space.

This stunning ballet performance was choreographed by Itzik Galili in 2004, set to the thundering percussion music of Percossa and performed by ten duos from the Israeli Ballet. The show was originally written for the Stuttgart Ballet Group. The title means "crowded light" in Japanese, and indeed, Galili was inspired by the people of Tokyo: the crowds, the anonymity, and how people scurry around and function in small spaces. The duets take place simultaneously in a chessboard-like grid of squares created by the lighting. Sometimes there are connections between the pairs, as one couple picks up movements initiated by another duo; other times, they take separate paths. The light-squares are turned on and off, creating ever-changing patterns and connections. The lighting not only defines the space; it becomes part of the dance itself.

Zwecker’s photographs capture the moments sculpted by light and the dancers’ bodies, whose fluid movements create a stark contrast with the rigid geometric shapes outlined on the stage floor. By focusing on the forms created by the dancers, as well as the bright light that distinguishes them from the deep black background, Zwecker emphasizes the intense turbulence of the movements.

The Performing Arts Series
Zwecker conceives of the work of the photographer with on-stage productions as a unique challenge, different from all other forms of the art. “Photography of the performing arts are a world away from news photography,” claims Zwecker. “It is emotionally draining because you have no idea what will happen next. The light dims; you are in the dark. It is impossible to check on the camera’s functions while photographing. These are the most difficult conditions for a photographer: the lighting shifts in seconds, the exposure changes, the setup moves in an instant and you have to respond in real-time, capturing the moment. If you want to reliably produce good photos, you need a deep understanding of your tool and be able to fully control it; and you need to understand the music that you are capturing.”

Yossi Zwecker

Born in Israel in 1965, Yossi Zwecker began his career as a news photographer before specializing in photography of the performing arts. He collaborates extensively with leading Israeli theater companies, dance troupes, and music venues, and currently serves as the house photographer for the Israel Opera House, Tel Aviv Center for Performing Arts, and the Israeli Ballet.
Read more about Yossi here