Love Cycle is made up of two complementary but standalone shows:
OCD Love and Love Chapter 2
OCD Love was birthed from a poem called OCD, written by American slam poet Neil Hilborn. In a few short minutes, it tells a story of love meeting an obsessive compulsive disorder and the effects it has on both partners. “It felt like it was written as choreography already, and, of course, inside that poem it really touched me,” Israeli choreographer and L-E-V Company Co-Artistic Director, Sharon Eyal says in her interview with Limelight Magazine. Eyal first came across the poem in 2015 and began a collaborative process with Co-Artistic Director Gai Behar and Musician Ori Lichtik, eventually creating a piece that explores the depths of an obsessive love on all ends of the spectrum.
The piece begins with a soloist under a gentle box of light. She moves slowly and deliberately, twisting her limbs through a repeating sequence that holds a possessive thought over her. She appears to fight against the limitations of her distortion. Then enters the second dancer – he walks with the same purposefulness, circling our soloist but never quite falling in sync with her before exiting the stage. It’s not until the third dancer enters that the audience is granted the satisfaction of a couple meeting, having a physical connection. Her choreography has the pair moving between an illustrious grace of the arms and a sensual swing of the hips to a twitching, gestural movement executed with extreme precision.
And so forth the rest of the cast enters, introducing their characters and quirks, eventually creating a cohort that embody everything from femininity to masculinity, from a playfulness to a shy demeanour. But no pair or group of dancers ever find a grounded connection with another. They continue to fight against their fidgeting impulses and the breath found in a moment of extension. The minimalist lighting brings an elusive feeling, and when a dancer is caught open armed, there is an immediate melancholic atmosphere made of near misses and the hope of those arms being filled.
OCD Love is ephemeral in every sense. The piece brilliantly captures a complex idea with a minimalist approach. The choreography co-exists with the soundtrack, DJ’d live by Lichtik. His romantic era-styled strings are coupled with a continual ticking that eventually thickens into a beat that carries the same gravity as your favourite nightclub. Together it simply embodies the beauty and the ugly of love.
Love, Chapter 2
Love, Chapter 2 is considered a continuation of OCD Love. Delving into the aftermath of a relationship, it tears apart and examines disintegrating connections with another. Unlike OCD Love, the piece opens with all six cast members. Our dancers once flirtatious now move timidly, their arms drifting like seaweed, searching for something and nothing at the same time. There is a notable tone of sombre and exhaustion. They begin with Lichtik’s soundscape, a simple yet striking beat to which the dancers immediately fall prisoner.
The characters carry their individual history with them, but they share a commonality that binds their world together. They are stuck in the same cycle. Eyal’s movement has the cast working as a collection, moving between a saundering strut around the stage to a half-hearted cha cha step. Licktik’s sound grows into layers of synths that roll in like waves. The beat is unrelenting, Eyal’s use of musicality intensifies the exhaustion and the want to meet a breaking point so that the audience may be released. Eyal taunts us with imagery of submission and power, as we catch glimpses of dancers flexing their upper body and curling up their fists while other dancers shield their faces. Rarely do the dancers ever meet through physical contact, and when they do, it is to wrap their hands around one’s throat.
Occasionally a dancer breaks free but is immediately engulfed by their emotion, they cling to their bodies with their arms as if the feeling is climbing through their insides. It is a stark image against the rest of the cast that moves as a unit. Love, Chapter 2 grips to a tone of devastation and darkness in the most honest light possible. It delivers a world we are all familiar with, the pull of heartache and the pain of carrying onwards.