“OCD Love” — Provocative, Evocative, and True

Saturday, June 3, 2017
by

FIVE DANCERS bring remarkable energy, endurance, and honesty to this compelling 60-minute performance which showcases a range of movements you’ve never seen before, at least not with this frequency and intensity.

Set to a Bolero-like theme without the melody—and with the tension ratcheted way up—“OCD Love” unfolds as a long minor chord accompanied by a staccato beat in what seems like a steady march of psychological desperation—but is it?

Surprisingly, this work has every right to become dark and dissident, but never does. At times, it even threatens to turn violent, but never does. And so it goes, never letting you get comfortable in your seat, but never offending you; arousing sympathy, but never imposing it. This ability to create tension without repulsion and to prompt emotions without manipulating them makes “OCD Love” an exceptional force of drama as well as dance.

The word dancing, however, may be stretching it because the choreography is better described as a series of short, jarring “movements” laced together seamlessly to create the impression of dancing. The onslaught of short, taut, rapid gestures exhibit uncanny flexibility, but their overall fluidity is purposely interrupted to suggest neurological anxiety—which it does. Meanwhile, the characters never seem troubled by their obsessiveness. They just live in it while we watch it—while we feel troubled by it.

Although the five dancers at times come together in twos and threes and as an entire group, they each primarily exist in a vacuum that is accentuated by the dim light and haze. None of them ever emerges, literally and figuratively, from the shadows. They each roam relentlessly in contorted, spasmodic, possessed isolation… aware of their plight, but not knowing it as such, and at times relishing in it.

Creators Sharon Eyal and Gal Behar deserve a lot of credit for sustaining the unity of a piece that moves incessantly for an hour as the dancers, like five planets, spin again and again out into their various dysfunctional orbits, but always circle back to form one solar system. Amidst endless fragmentation in and among the parts, you never feel a crack or break in the whole. That took a lot of work.

Equally impressive is how “OCD Love” manages to be beautiful without beauty, erotic without eroticism, grotesque without grotesqueness. It never pretends to be something other than what it is, and it never oversteps its own boundaries—all of which contributes to the physical tension, psychological drama, and wonder of this unique piece.


 


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