Something singular


The Montpellier Festival has commissioned multi-award winning choreographer Yasmin Godder to create a new dance piece. Singular Sensation (Ichusheeling in Hebrew) will have its official world premiere there on June 26, but Godder will show it here first at Suzanne Dellal from June 19-21.

Godder’s titles are as inventive as her choreography. Recent works have included Strawberry Cream and Gunpowder (’04) and I’m Mean, I am (’06). The Hebrew title Ichusheeling is a slang term for “Wow!” from the ’80s that’s suddenly resurfaced.

The hour-long work features five dancers, and the title aims to convey both the ‘Wow!’ that the phrase implies and its literal meaning.

“During the process of making the work, we were searching for that particular sensation in our bodies. It was even more about singling out that very sensation, and then seeing where it takes you,” explains Godder.

The work isn’t looking to bring out one particular sensation, rather, “it’s a ‘what exactly do you feel and how does your body react when…’ you see a pretty girl on the street, you get mad or sad. When you’re alone, or with friends. Whatever,” she says.

In the piece, Godder pushes acute body awareness to the forefront of viewers’ consciousness. Watching the presentation, it is possible to imagine that this was the way humans behaved before they acquired speech to help obscure the language of their bodies.

Godder smiles at the idea, offering, “I like to see people onstage; I work from a very emotional space. I try to open my head when making a piece without pre-defining the movement language. I’m always very aware of using [modern] dance movement, but use it as though it were a found object. In every movement there is the question of ‘why is this happening now?'”

Born in Jerusalem in 1973, Godder and her family moved to New York in 1984. She studied dance at the New York High School of the Performing Arts (of Fame fame) and got her BA at the Tisch School of the Arts.

Even as a student, she garnered attention. Dance Theater Workshop (DTW) commissioned her first professional piece, Tagidi Shalom Yaffe (Say Hello Nicely), that was performed in 1999 at Suzanne Dellal’s Curtain Up – the same year Israel was introduced to Godder with Aleena’s Wall in Shades of Dance.

Work followed work and the prizes, both local and international, piled up in their wake – not least of which was the Bessie in 2001 for I Feel Funny Today. Godder came home in 1999, and she’s been a fellow of the IcExcellence Foundation since 2004, among the rest.