I carry, you hold
In an uncompromising space of physical actions,
a relationship between a woman and a man is
being shaken, stirred and re-examine.
There is no victory or loss. There is no hierarchy.
Choreography: Olivia Court Mesa
Co-creator: Yochai Ginton
Performers: Olivia Court Mesa and Yochai Ginton
Sound design: Roey Hazon
Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart/ Piano Concerto No.23 in A Major,
Matthew Herbert/ Titles
Lighting Design: Dani Fishof
Costumes: Factory 54
Lenght of the work: 20 minutes
Premiered in Curtain Up Festival 2019, Israel
“ In "I carry, you hold," the work of Olivia Court Mesa in collaboration with Yochai Ginton, the image of a puppet and an operator embodied for moments in the actual body of the dancers, but also soon disrupted.
The piece opens when a man and woman - the creators themselves - enter the arena, around which the audience is assembled, while wearing only black lingerie. The two look at the audience, as if presenting the basic physical difference that distinguishes them: "I am a man, I am a woman." At the end of the observation, the two dress in clothes that were placed there in advance. She - in black velvet dress with a floral decoration at the hem. Him - in pants and a shirt. As a magic act, Ginton is suddenly on Court Mesa's shoulders, wrapped around her head. As if it was not enough to make a striking reversal - Court Mesa's size is significantly smaller than Ginton, and "natural" to expect that he would be the one lifting her. Court Mesa slowly pulls her right foot upward the left calf and stands on one leg while he is on her shoulders. This is an impressive opening, imploring viewers to set expectations aside, as promising - and subsequently sustaining - "no longer a routine duet for a man and a woman."
Court Mesa and Ginton lift and carry each other, leaning on each other and elegantly manipulating each other in a never-ending series of positions, while maintaining touch and balance. The two showcase not only exceptional performance but also a clear, well-refined aesthetic proposal - Theatrical rendering, stylish and clear of Contact Improvisation. A form of dance that has been evolving consistently since the 1970s and which, as its name suggests, is based on improvisation in contact with another partner or more. Court Mesa and Ginton are not improvising, but they use typical contact lifts, rolls and grips, while taking advantage of the principles that are at its core - such as maintaining a common center of gravity for equilibrium, using momentum and especially maintaining touch - to construct stage images that directly illustrates the implicit physical element in the form of our thinking about relationships: we lean on each other, depend on each other, lift each other up and hold each other. Court Mesa and Ginton carry the burden(literally) - equivalently, and thus, by way of contrast, show how most of the duets in dance (also contemporary) embody traditional, oppressive power relations in the enclave, disguised as "natural".
However, the two not only disrupt conventions that are customary in dance, but also show viewers how much their way of thinking about relationships is defined. How physical and deeply ingrained it is in the language. Therefore watching this non-conforming dance evokes cognitive dissonance, fun and entertaining at first, but revealing in fact a disturbing truth.”
Ran Brown for Haaretz Newspaper
“Surprising, acrobatic combinations scrape the threshold of the daring abilities of the two. Court Mesa proves that, although she is a woman, smaller, and certainly weighs less than Ginton, she is no less powerful than he is. She challenges herself without compromise, without mercy.”
Ruth Eshel for Dance Diaries
“A moment later, the tall Ginton jumped into her arms and she hardly batted an eye lash. The duet of power games was well executed and humorous without taking itself too seriously.”
Ora Brafman for The Jerusalem Post