A Long day´s journey: Noam

Bergen, June 29th. Grey clouds lies as a heavy lid over the city, but in dancer Noam Eidelman Shatil´s (26) living room, it´s comfy, smells of coffee and filled with electronica. 

What is your background?
I started dancing very young and went to the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance High school for six years. After graduation, I joined Kibbutz contemporary dance company 2 in Ga’aton for two seasons, followed by two years with Batsheva Dance Company Ensemble before I moved to Berlin where I lived for three years, taught gaga technique, collaborated with artists in Berlin and developed my own performance project NES.
How did you get to Bergen and Carte Blanche?
I knew of Carte Blanche before, through friends who had danced there, and when I moved to Berlin, it became easier for me to do auditions in Europe. My first audition for Carte Blanche was in 2014 right before Hooman became the artistic director. It was an audition for an apprentice contract, but it did not work out at the time. A year and a half later, right after returning from a six months backpacking travel trough India and completely in zen mode and far from the thought of auditions, I received a phone from Hooman who asked if I would return to do a new audition. This contract also did not work out, but a few months later I was invited to join the company for eight months and finally received a fixed contract with the company.
How is the Israeli contemporary dance today?
It's one of the most developed dance environments in the world, I mean, with both amazing dancers and exciting choreographers. There are lots of small festivals and good people to work with, although of course there are some other budgets there than here, so it can be difficult for new artists to get established. But there is a great diversity and an intense and exciting atmosphere.
What is the difference between Israeli and Norwegian contemporary dance?
I do not know if there are so big differences really. They are both quite small countries and small dance environments. I’ve met extraordinary dancers here in Norway. We are a small family in Carte Blanche with dedicated people who love what we are doing. I experience a huge professionalism in Carte Blanche and it is well established and I feel very lucky to be allowed to work here as a dancer. In Berlin it was not easy to feel close to the environment because it all seemed a bit more fragmented and volatile, both because of the size of the city, but also because many live in Berlin but work elsewhere.
How has work with While They Are Floating been for you?
When I first heard about the subject I had a lot of expectations. I saw it as a great opportunity for an encounter with the refugee topic through my communication tool, which is dance. The story I tell before the show is a real story about a Somali woman, so it might be a bit different story than those we seee from Syria today, even though- each story is individual. But it refers to the fact that people on the run are not a new or specific phenomenon. For example, we invited a philosopher from the University of Bergen, who brought the German-American political philosopher Hannah Arendt's essay "We Refugees", which fascinates the entire refugee debate in a broader perspective. It shows that people have always fled and migrated throughout the ages. The process of the performance itself was two-fold, working both with the theme of the performance, and the pure physical dance, but as two separate entities, building characters, understanding motives and understanding how we could convey these voices. We also had personal meetings with refugees who were both challenging and exciting to me. Challenging in the way that I should try to “walk” in another person's shoes and understand what suffering and crazy stories he or she has experienced. I felt some uncertainty about whether my own dissemination of these stories would give them justice and I asked myself if I could really do it. But at the same time it was important for me to try and I really wanted to go into this theme, let go of my own limitations and go into the material as well as I could. These doubts were an integral part of this entire process.
What is home to you?
Many places! I can be in a hotel room and feel comfortable and very at home. I generally feel very fast at home in many places. Israel is my home. But also Berlin. And currently Bergen. But the concept home can be so many things, it can be an experience, a conversation or a moment for me.
In the program catalog of the show, each dancer is shown with a personal object. What have you chosen and why?
I have fossils. My father is a geologist, and my mother collects special things. I remember from my childhood our travels in the desert in Israel and how we found special fossils and rocks my parents could tell stories around. At home in Israel we have lots of rocks and fossils in the windowshade, so when I moved out of home when I was 17, I brought some fossils that have been with me since. They connect me to my family, but also tell me something about evolution and history of the planet. They tend to give me some perspective of life.

While they are floating, 9.–12. November

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