about Quiet

Being a quartet for two Jewish men and two Arab men, it was very intense-the most intense, hard-to-watch thing i've seen here at International Exposure at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv. One duet sequence had two men almost locked together in a kind of battle that was occasionally affectionate - but they kept their hands two inches from actually touching each other, so you felt a hard-earned restraint, but the intent to fight was there. In another section a guy was squatting with his head to the floor, like in Muslim prayers and he was full of rage at himself, at the floor, at whatever, and trying to contain his rage all in the small space between himself and the floor. Then another guy, maybe the oldest of the four, put his hand on the nape of that guys' neck and comforted him, but instead of soothing talk, he was chuckling to himself. Gradually, the chuckler, after he calmed the first guy down, looked at his hands and tried to keep laughing but then started thrusting his hands away from himself like he wanted to get rid of them. (...) I heard that it took eight months of long hourse every day to get it to this point. The work and courage these four men have put into this is amazing and makes me think, wouldn't it be great if this could happen on a larger scale, and really bring people who are culturally and politically set against each other to some kind of understanding?

by Wendy Perron, Dance Magazine, December 2009, NYC, USA

Arkadi Zaides hits hard the Israeli-Arab chords of conflict and shatters the concepts of dance. I first met the budding creative talent of Zaides when he created an electric solo dance in the first project of “Batsheva Dancers Create”, about seven years ago. Since then, he has become independent and his works have progressed, won prizes, were invited to dance capitals of the world, and his identity as a dance artist came into form. Now he opens the second decade of this century with a painful cry that shatters to pieces not only his creative image, but also the concept of dance.

In “Quiet”, Zaides does not create dance. He uses what is usually not found in dance. In those moments of rough movement that do not reach the stage. As he increases the silence that we do not usually hear when someone shouts. And mainly, he creates a picture of great compassion that is almost always hidden from sight when violence and torture capture the frontline.

After it finished, someone was quick to ask me whether i enjoyed it. No, i replied briefly and walked away before i would have to explain that this. “Quiet” of Arkadi Zaides is a whipping, beating and offensive work of art, bleeding itself and seeking to remind us that there is also something else other than the routine of fun.

by Zvi Goren, 'Habama' internet magazene, January 2010, Israel

The local dance industry barely engages in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the little that does, touches only its margins. “Quiet”, a dance initiated by Arkadi Zaides, finally brings about a significant and kicking saying about living in constant tension.

The alien skulls of the graffiti artist Klone, who look at the passers-by from every partially available wall in Tel Aviv, are displayed also on the separation wall, designed for a new stage production, initiated by the dancer and choreographer Arkadi Zaides. “quiet”, a work that emerged from the deepening rift between the Arab sector and the Jewish sector within the territory of Israel, takes place in an urban-like space, which is abandoned and neglected. The landscape, devoid of compassion, the tension and the alienation, picks on the mind of the four characters like images of ducks on a barbed fire wall, evoking thoughts of ducks before a firing squad.
From the emergency state in which Israelis and Palestinians are trapped, a constant state of shock and distrust that seemingly does not enable change, the work seeks to create communication and uses the stage as a place for an uninhibited response that exposes fearlessly the emotions of both sides. This is not a work dealing with co-existence, in this sense its contents have more pessimism that optimism. But when Palestinians and Israelis, who all live within the borders of one country, stand on the stage and succeed in bringing themselves into the same space, initially aggressively, but along with the confusion and yearning, also the forming of attentiveness - it seems that there is still room for hope.

Unlike the Israeli theatre and film, the regional conflict is expressed in dance only marginally or indirectly, usually. “Quiet”, in this sense, is an unprecedented work. Also exceptional is the choice not to embellish, to taunt the audience with the alienation, helplessness, and longing for softness and compassion.
It begins with three characters lying on the floor, partly alive and partly dead, defeated on the ground. Amongst them, an image moves in an obsessive motion of arms drawn from the body, searching for the way, as if it were the hands of a blind person, serving as his eyes and protection. He moves between those lying down, whilst in the background, he is accompanied by the whispering of waves breaking over and over in an infinite circle, like the movement that repeats itself over and over, like the circular “situation” that is not getting resolved. He tries to move forward but instead walks on the spot and is thrown back again and again, like a moving chant.

The movement is tight, nervous, violent, until the releasing scream arrives. It is a dance of despair, where there is almost no contact, and where there is contact, it is powerful and resistant. The meeting points between body and body takes you out of control, but also the solitude drives you crazy in that place where only the scream is a release. One versus one becomes threatening, deterred, and entrenched. The movement dialogue is compared to a dialogue that is reminiscent of contact combat having no contact.

Also in a beautiful duet between the judoka Muhammed Mugrabi and between the dancer Ofir Yudilevitch, the body is locked and hunched, and does not allow access. Mugrabi “talks” the Judo language in his movements. Yudilevitch in words from the Capoeira language. What connects between them, at least at the initial level, is the stage and the anger. Touching lightly, that is maybe the central, the bright and the despairing statement of this work, in which any attempts to cross the limit is warded off, and eventually leads to madness, to a loss of identity.

by Meirav Yudilevtich, 'Ynet' internet magazene, January 2010, Israel

The most impressive piece presented at international exposure 2009 was "Quiet", a dance piece and work-in-progress by Arkadi Zaides. "Quiet" depicts a desperate situation where two Jewish men (including Zaides), and two Arab men, are seeking something from each other, reminiscent of the deep-rooted conflict between Arabs and Jews. Their mutual search stems from ethnic, religious and political roots. "Quiet" is an experimental and ambitious piece digging into the realm of "politics", harnessing a unique form of body language, without using any traditional dance language. It is striking how political the dance can be without any text and at the same time being free from any propaganda. The audience is continually faced with an uneasy sense of tension. "Quiet" will be presented not only for Jewish-Israeli audiences but also in the arab community. However, this piece, created following long hours of discussions and rehearsals, is stunning beyond the Israeli-Palestinian issues.

by Tatsuro Iishi, Dance magazine,  March 2010,  Japan

Quiet opens with the sound of water. Three men lie down in the darkness, the shadow of a fourth man stands in front of a wall. As the space fills with light, colorful birds and graffiti can be seen in the background. They could be anywhere, but for anyone who recognizes the hooded eyes and bold lines of the creatures drawn on the wall by Klone, they are here in Tel Aviv. They could be any four men, but they are two Arabs and two Jews, who have been working together to create Quiet, choreographed and directed by Arkadi Zaides.

Quiet is something I have learned to live without since moving to Tel Aviv. Or should I say, Tel Aviv-Yafo? Jaffa? Yaffa? the hyphen, the line that connects or divides those two entities, the multiplicity of languages and identities contained within the name, symbolizes the ambivalence of the relationship. The noise never stops in this city that never sleeps, reinventing itself at every turn. The rumble of buses, the duet of radio music and hammering from the construction site beyond my window, the ring of my neighbor’s phone and the conversation that follows – all these have become the background to every word I write. Surrounded by the sounds of people I do not see, I have learned not to listen, not to be distracted by whatever is going on around me.

What is the meaning of quiet in this environment where the noise is constant, and languages separate people from one another? What kind of communication and connection is possible in this context? Dance is not a natural meeting place for these kinds of conversations, yet movement offers an alternative to words that is at once more immediate and clear, yet open to interpretation. As choreographer and dancer, Arkadi is both inside the work itself and outside, observing. He was joined in this external view by Joanna Leznierowska who hosted the four men for a month in her apartment in Poznan, during the creative process.

Quiet is a work that speaks in many languages – contemporary dance, Capoeira, Judo, and Arabic. In reflecting on the work, my mind returns to the opening images: three men lie on their backs, each in a different corner of the stage. Are they relaxing on the mediterranean sand, or collapsed from exhaustion? One man stands, a shadowed figure. As light slowly fills the space, he begins to move. Bent down, arms outstretched, palms cupped as in an offering or prayer. Moving in the air on the sound of water, he approaches the men, one at a time. Urging them to rise, open palms beckoning, gathering in. No one moves. He stands once more at the wall. Kneels on the floor, running his fingers through invisible sand, then stands and looks up at the sky, still searching. Hands outstretched, legs churning, running in place. Running without progress. The patterns repeat: there are images and motions that recur throughout the work. טhe men move in and out of the narratives, each moving within his personal story, moving in and out of one another’s stories. Each story speaks its own language of movement, rhythm and emotional impact.
There are no conclusions to this narrative. The contact between the men is intense at times, tender at others, about to erupt into violence at other moments. Their movement often takes place at the edge of touch, the space between them replete with emotional tension as if what must be said is almost too much to bear. At times one is intensely aware of the representation of arab and jew onstage. At other times they are just four guys hanging out - friends.

There are no conclusions to this narrative. The effort at communication always seems to end up at the wall: a physical expression of frustration and hopelessness. Yet it begins again. Perhaps that is a message of hope.

by Ayelet Dekel, Midnight East, April 2010, Israel

Choreographer Arkadi Zaides’s latest work Quiet, wrangles with the emotional corporeality of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as it is intertwined in the lives and histories of four men—two Palestinians and two Israelis. Far from the serene state its title suggests, the dance teeters on an ever-shifting terrain layered with the sediment of exhaustion, urgency, pain, and desire. Quiet, in both process and performance, makes tangible the space between bodies and the hope of living alongside and through difference.

by Lauren Bakst, Bomb Magazine, June 2011, NYC, USA

Zeides created "quiet" out of the desire for the possibility of a dialog between Jewish and Arab artists in an environment built especially for such a purpose. His point of departure was the lack of trust between either party, placed mutely facing each other.

There are four men in the space, with only one or two dancing at a time. Each dance ends with a cry. For the sake of this loaded encounter between foreigners and enemies, Zeides' physical language eliminates the option of a hand. Without a hand, it is impossible to shake hands in introduction or as a sign of mutual (male) honor and agreement. It is also impossible to reach out, to hold hands affectionately or in need, and so the hand cancelled out by Zeides is the lack of possibility. His point of departure for creating any relations between Jews and Arabs is planted in this deprivation. However, there is still a desire, a certain need. Therefore they are all in the same space, the same environment, the same city, and perhaps the same country.

The first (and only sole) contact using the hands, is feeling around in the dark. Two men stand, their faces to the audience (and not facing each other as if trying or capable of communicating directly), feeling each other's faces. In their touch, there is a desire for understanding, and a detached foreignness. Their attempt is earnest, but their tools are inadequate. They have no knowledge of each other. Another duet, towards the end of the work, describes a person's relation with a voice pounding in his head, the one we attribute to "the back of our mind", the repressed voice. He cannot release himself from this inner voice, the voice of conscience, his guiding voice (a complex and somber performance by Yuval Goldstein and Ofir Yudilevitch). This "voice" stands behind him, speaking to the back of his neck, relentlessly. Eventually he will conquer the man, at the price of exhaustion.

Zeides creates a work that is fascinating in its movement, and troubling in its message of near-despair. What remains hanging in the space is the exhaustion of the performers, and of the audience in witnessing continuous and unsatisfying attempts at creating dialogue.

by Dana Shalev, 2ed Opinion, July 2012
A man grasps the head of another from behind, immobilizes him and glues his mouth to the back of his head. A swift attack in a fit of twisted violence. The glued, cupped mouth seems to pierce through the skin to cling onto the bone. It spits out barely audible sounds which penetrate and seem to irradiate the skull. This poisonous embrace creates the climax of the tension at the heart of the work “Quiet” created for four dancers by Israeli choreographer Arkaki Zaides and on show for the first time in Paris at the Theatre de Chaillot until October 26.

All’s fair in love and war, every punch is fair game and hatred sadly feeds the imagination. The savage hold, devised by Arkadi Zaides, is followed by a long pas de deux played entirely around the aggressor’s mouth. His lips never let go of their prey despite all the efforts of the latter to fend them off. They stick like a leech while the other twists like a worm and wriggles in every direction.

Not far into its cold execution of a torture session, the bite creates a number of images and associations of ideas. The aggressor injects words as much as he seems to suck out the brains of the victim he wishes to subjugate. Brainwashing, indoctrination, every conflict is also a process of psychological domination and mental colonization, until the enemy is left panting, brainless, and obedient.

The meticulously choreographed sequence, performed without falling into expressionist excesses, is representative of Arkai Zaides’ pulsating creativity. In this work, with its paradoxical title, interpreted by Israelis and Palestinians, the choreographer, who launched his company in 2004, resists masculine, warrior stereotypes to find his own vocabulary and strip down themes of incomprehension, hatred and suicidal longings…Irresolvable conflicts, a new perspective.

by Rosita Boisseau, Le Monde, October 2012