Winter at the ByhamSnow globes come to life in performance by Israeli dance troupe

Winter at the ByhamSnow globes come to life in performance by Israeli dance troupe

As the weather here begins its inevitable descent into the chills of November, Pittsburghers are invited to enter an imaginary wintry world created by the Tel Aviv-based Inbal Pinto Dance Company, and be inspired by those delicate glass globes, which, when shaken, trigger tiny balls of “snow” to gently fall to the surface below.
“Shaker,” a one-hour piece created by choreographers Inbal Pinto and her partner Avshalom Pollak, will transform the stage of the Byham Theater on Saturday, Nov. 1, into an almost surreal world of dreamlike images shaped by 12 dancers and one actor, with the aid of otherworldly costumes, sets and lighting.
“Shaker,” which was created in 2006, was the result of an improvisational creative process, according to Pollak.
During the two- to three-week improvisational process, Pollak said, the dancers began working with styrofoam balls, “which are not so stable. It created the ambience of the piece — a snowy world, a world inside a snow globe.”
Pinto and Pollak have been working together for 16 years, and not only choreograph and direct all their own pieces, but also design the sets, costumes and wigs as well.
The costumes designed by the pair can be unusual, as in “Shaker,” where some of the dancers are clothed in what can only be described as full-body nets.
There are a few reasons for the body nets, explained Pollak. “The most important is that by making the full body a color, it kind of gives the freedom to the dancer or character to be something completely different if they wish to be. Each dancer that works with us in the creation of the piece created his part to work with us. The color is a metaphor.”
The Inbal Pinto Dance Company has performed all over the world, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan and many countries in Europe, and has received numerous awards and honors. The Pittsburgh Dance Council is bringing the troupe here to perform.
“Our executive director, Paul Organisak, had attended a very contemporary dance festival in Israel where he came across Inbal Pinto, and thought it was a great performance that Pittsburgh audiences should see,” said Veronica Corpuz, director of public relations for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
Pollak said that with the creation of “Shaker,” the company was “trying to develop a change, to go to places where we hadn’t been before, or to do something that would expand our ability, our imagination, our knowledge and our feelings.”
“I think there’s something in every piece we do that touches emotions,” Pollak said. “There’s an emotional texture that’s unique in ‘Shaker.’ There’s something that sneaks in to touch you, and maybe it’s something hypnotizing, but in a very gentle way.”

(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at

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