words Ellie Brown
Emblazoned onto the vast white cube exterior where the Dior SS19 show was held at the Hippodrome de Longchamp last September was a quote: ‘The story comes from inside the body’. The woman responsible for this remark, Sharon Eyal, would also make her mark on the interior of temporary space that was built over the course of two weeks, especially for the show. Eyal was approached by Dior’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, to choreograph a dance that would take place as models took to the runway. For the SS19 collection, Chiuri found inspiration in the world of dance; corsets were replaced with loose, tulle skirts, leggings and, of course, ballet pumps. For the performance, Eyal’s dancers weere clad in specifically-designed bodysuits. At times, dancers and models seemed inseparable. If the show reflected the unique vision for which Chiuri has become known for as of late, it also brought Eyal’s enchanting choreography to a new audience. Eyal founded the L-E-V dance company in 2013 with fellow dancer and collaborator, Gai Behar - whilst the musician, Ori Lichtik, is responsible for the music and sound that accompanies the company’s productions. Performances of the company’s repertoire, particularly OCD Love and its second act, Love Chapter 2, have captivated audiences across the world. In this sense, the Dior show can be seen as a continuation of the ways in which Eyal utilises the body in its totality to convey emotion and feeling. Speaking with Eyal soon after the Dior show, it is clear that this idea that the story comes from within is one that Eyal embodies whole-heartedly.
NR: What inspired the approach you took in choreographing the Dior SS19 show?
Sharon Eyal: For me, inspiration is life – it’s everything I’m going through. I met Maria Grazia [Chiuri], who is an amazing person, and then I saw the work on the collection as it appeared. I think it’s all about chemistry. When you work with people, or another artist, they have to inspire you. In terms of the Dior collaboration, fashion and material is something that I really connect with. It feels like you can see the material sewn into the movement. I really love all the layers that you can see in the connections.
NR: What does the partnership between fashion and dance reveal?
SE: It’s about a collaboration of feelings. I think it’s not just dance, or fashion, I think it shows the combination of something unique that you want to share together. When you create something, it comes from a certain point in your body; I think me and Maria Grazia were creating from the same point, so it was very organic. For me, dancing is something basic, like you eat; you dance. Life is about movement, and fashion is something that is so free, as if it has no limits. With the combination of fashion and dance, it’s something that seems so distant but very close, like it was growing from the same planes. Everything came together with an organic feeling.
NR: Is dance a medium that can express human emotion better than other art forms?
SE: I think every art form can express these emotions. Painting, cinema, music, and, of course, fashion. But also, something like, going to the beach: it’s all art and it’s all life. For me, there isn’t a difference between life and art.
NR: How does dance reflect art and life back to audiences?
SE: I think dance is something very physical and emotional. Everybody feels these emotions and, and I think that connects people. Everybody feels sadness, disappointment and loneliness, for example. There is something about the physicality of the body connects with people: dance doesn’t need to be a story in order for it to be something you understand. It’s emotion as seen through the body.
NR: How do you hope audiences will interact with the combination of dance with music with lighting and movement?
SE: If the elements are separated, or don’t connect, it doesn’t work because it’s one piece. I think it’s about total feeling and total experience. This connection is important.
NR: When you’re creating a new dance, where do you start first?
SE: I don’t start a piece, it’s always a continuation of something; it’s like the story of my life, but we have deadlines and so, I’m always cutting it, but it’s a long story that carries on. I start by improvising movements, which my dancers record, and from there I cut, edit, and change: this is the first layer. I work with lots of changing compositions.
NR: Would you say that your dances have a futuristic element to them?
SE: I don’t know how to explain movement in words, but it’s very natural and simple, but complicated at the same time. It’s about trying to be what you are, in a very, very physical way.
NR: So are you stripping back the elements of dance to the body?
SE: It’s not just the body, it’s also about the body and soul. I believe in the heart and emotion, but I think that everything comes from the physical, from inside the body. Muscles are emotional; you don’t need to put anything on top of the way muscles move because it’s all already there.
NR: Do your dances take on the traditional structures of ballet, or is it a completely new style?
SE: When you see our dances, you can see the roots of that. I love ballet because I feel like I can play with it; I love the technique, and I love to break it.
NR: In future, do you hope to add another chapter on to OCD Love and Love Chapter 2?
SE: I like chapters a lot, so I would love to add more to that. Anyway, I think it’s always a continuation of what we’re doing, or what we’ve done, so I’m sure it will be happen.