FITTING

ROOM

(2011)

A woman, wearing a mourning dress connected to a sewing machine, experiences one last elusive encounter with her lost lover.

A trio for two dancers and a tailor in which choreography and fashion design work together. 

As a dance work that can be watched from almost  360°, "Fitting Room" is performed in indoor and outdoor locations, enabling the audience to watch it from different angles and in changing settings. Ceremonial and passionate at the same time, the dance explores what loss, mourning and longings are.  Each place of performance, its time, the weather and the landscape change the dance and also charge it with different atmosphere and connotations. Therefore, "Fitting Room" is an ever-reborning dance piece that takes the audience on a special unforgettable short journey that is always unique and unprecedented. 

“Fitting Room started from a very personal memory: in the early 1960’s my grandmother was a simple laborer in ATA Textile factories, one of Israel’s first industrial enterprises and the first company in Israel to manufacture and design textiles locally. It was hard physical work, long workdays with a small salary. At a certain stage she got very sick with pneumonia, but kept on going to work, because she had to support her poor family. This sacrifice led to her premature death and left my mother orphaned. Naturally, this loss had a tremendous effect on my mother’s childhood. It was the first loss I heard of as a kid. I didn’t have the chance to meet my grandma, but she was present in my childhood through my mother’s stories. All through the years my mother kept aside clothes that were manufactured by her mother. This absence-presence dynamic made me explore the relation between textile, fashion, loss and mourning.”

 

Inbal Oshman

Choreography Inbal Oshman  |   Dancers Inbal Oshman/Oryan Yohanan, Ran Ben-Dror  |   Tailor-Performer Amnon Lipkin  |   Costume Design Anat Sternschuss  Music Yossi Marchaim. International  |   Communications & Production Katherina Vasiliadis  |   Supported By the Israeli Lottery Foundation (Pais).  Duration: 20 min

INSPIRATIONS | FITTING ROOM

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The dress and its 14-meter-long train are the third dancer in Fitting Room. When choosing the specific fabric for the extravagant black dress worn by the dancer, we were first and foremost looking for material with the right dancing qualities - the flow, texture, shine, pattern and weight were all considered and experimented. Mourning dresses from all times and from a variety of cultures were examined along contemporary artistic fashion that might provide the right inspiration for the dress’s design. Olivier Theyskens’ fashion design’s photo stood out because of its tailoring and also the theatrical scene it depicts.

In mourning’s traditions the ceremonial and the animalistic are mixed together. They complete each other and also collide. In many traditions throughout history women carried the role of the professional weepers. This social role used their ability to express emotions. At the same time, it molded and limited the span of this emotional expression. Fitting Room’s choreographic vocabulary explores the conflict between the ceremonial and culturally-dependent movement of mourning and the personal urges that don’t follow the social expectations from mourning women. 

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Loss is some kind of charged emptiness that is filled with so many feelings, memories and emotions. It’s painful, but more often than not it’s vivid and crystal clear. Ma (“emptiness”) is central to Zen aesthetics and gave Fitting Room much inspiration as a sharp minimalistic dance piece. Here, in this ink wash painting of the 16th century Japanese painter Hasegawa Tōhaku (Left panel of the Pine Trees screen), we can see the power of Ma. It’s a very accurate and intentioned choice of composition in which the empty parts of the painting play an equal and even more significant role. In Fitting Room emptiness was crucial to the creative process. The space the performers cross and the gaps between the organs and the silence can be charged with energy just as much as the body and movements. 

MUSIC

The sound of the sewing machine is the live component of the piece's music. It was used in the piece’s soundtrack, which was composed by Yossi Marchaim, one of Israel’s most prominent avant-garde musicians. . The industrial sounds echo and gradually turn into a musical canvas for lyrical piano playing. The contrast between the alienated sewing machine’s sounds and the emotional piano provides the dance with the right tone and atmosphere. It gives the performers the space in which they perform Fitting Room.