Supporting creative work by women
Reut Shemesh is a fearless choreographer who has explored the world through her art. Israeli born, Reut studied in Amsterdam and now works and resides in Cologne. She makes her United States debut this week as part of Theaterlab‘s Mi Casa Es Su Casa series, which presents international artists in sharp relief. Her piece Wildwood Flowers uses masks–beautifully constructed, graphically drawn upon white masks–to create character. The piece was a sensation when it premiered in Cologne this spring, and she has refashioned it with four New York-based dancers for the September 24 through 26 performances in New York City.
Reut spoke to Works by Women about what she loves about New York, how moving around has informed her work and the inspiration for Wildwood Flowers.
WORKS BY WOMEN: This is your first time in New York. What do you think of the city? Has being here changed the way you look at Wildwood Flowers?
REUT SHEMESH: Yes, it’s my first time in New York. The city is kind of crazy, busy, tiring, full of happenings. I would probably need three-month to get to know it properly. Yes, coming changed the way I look at the work. I have new cast of people which influence the all piece. I also feel kind of free in a new space, new city, new eyes, very refreshing.
WBW: The piece premiered in Germany this year. Now, you’re working with NYC-based dancers on re-creating the piece. What’s the process like?
RS: So far I feel very welcomed here, coming here every morning makes me actually happy. I enjoy the work with the people and the creation process. Generally to say I love my work. Particularly I love having the right facilities to make my work. Currently I do have the right facilitation and people to work with.
WBW: Tell me about Wildwood Flowers. Where did the inspiration come from?
RS: Wildwood Flowers is about and with masks. It all started long ago when I moved to Germany. I felt I needed to rework myself, fit myself into the new society I am in. This adaptation with all its difficulties inspired me to create this work.
WBW: You were born in Israel, studied in Amsterdam, live in Cologne. How does place or sense of place influence your work?
RS: A lot! I am very inspired from social structures, people and the way we function. I am inspired from bodies and the relationship people have with their body. I am also very lucky to have different education from different countries and different backgrounds.
WBW: What’s next for you?
RS: My upcoming premiere, about Israeli soldiers in November. As well I am part of two years project with Tanzhaus NRW we start in November in Africa, we will be creating with different people from different nations and travel between Africa and Germany.
WBW: What challenges face women artists?
RS: It’s not easy as one can imagine. We do need to walk a long way to get the recognition. On the other hand I can not complain. I do love my work. I am here to work out things to make and work for changes. I take this challenge with much love and understanding.
WBW: What gives you hope for women artists?
RS: Simply the future. The awareness is increasing. I don’t want to be a victim, and I do not agree to be a victim. I work only with lovely people who see me and get me for being what I am.
Wildwood Flowers is at Theaterlab September 24-26, 2015. For information and tickets, visit www.theaterlabnyc.com.