Choreographers take risk with new piece for Chutzpah! Festival

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Having worked together as choreographers for five years, and as partners in life for a number of years before that, you would think that Oded Graf and Yossi Berg would have already pretty much done it all.  But at this year’s Chutzpah! Festival they find out there is still more to discover as they set out to create a brand new dance piece from scratch, with dancers that they have only just met.

Oded Graf and Yossi Berg“We are here to collaborate with three Canadian dancers to create a new made-in-Vancouver piece from scratch,” said Graf.

“Like a ‘blind date’”, added Berg.

Working by themselves for a few weeks before going into the studio with Vancouver dancers Noam Gagnon, Justine Chambers and Ziyian Kwan, the quintet will have five weeks to pull it all together before the show receives its world premiere on February 26.

“Usually we spend months working and developing a new work,” explained Graf.  “This is a totally new situation for us, knowing we would be working with dancers we had not met before.”

While it might be new, Graf and Berg say they are up for the challenge.

“We can’t say we were not a little worried,” confessed Berg.  “If there is not a good match it could be a problem.  We told [Chutzpah! Artistic Managing Director] Mary-Louise Albert what type of people we were looking for and she made it happen with the three dancers”.

Despite the condensed timeframe, the process and the inspiration for this new work comes from a similar place as their other works.

“It could be a title, a sentence, some text or even images and music,” said Berg.  “We start to peel away at a sentence or some text for example and that could form the core of the choreography”.

“This is definitely the shortest time we’ve ever had in creating a new work,” continued Graf.  “But we are up for that challenge.  We prefer to take risks.”

“And it is so much more fun to take those risks,” concluded Berg.

2011 Chutzpah! Festival: A Dance Double Bill
Saturday February 26 @ 8pm & Sunday February 27 @ 2pm

Three dynamic and exciting male dancers and choreographers come together – Kevin O’Day, Robert Glumbek and Luches Huddleston Jr. in Full Bloom – the personal and intimate journey of three men through the joys of fatherhood, the demands of manhood, and the challenges imposed by physical age.

In a double bill with Full Bloom will be a new work by Chutzpah! artists in residence Israeli choreographer/dancers Yossi Berg and Oded Graf with three of Vancouver’s most prolific dancers – Noam Gagnon, Justine Chambers and Ziyian Kwan.

Visit for tickets and information.

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