An interview with The Industry Lab artists Danielle Agami and Odeya Nini on their upcoming program GEST

Danielle Agami and Odeya Nini

THE INDUSTRY: To what extent did you two know each other personally or professionally before The Industry initiated your collaboration?

ODEYA + DANIELLE: Not at all!

DANIELLE: Yuval [Sharon] thought we should meet.

ODEYA: I had seen Danielle’s work because Archie, my husband, played with her. When was that? Two years ago?

DANIELLE: April 2014.

THE INDUSTRY: What work was that Danielle?

DANIELLE: “Mouth to Mouth”, by Ate9 Dance Company at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, which is where we will perform this collaboration.

THE INDUSTRY: What has your working method been like? How did it begin and how has it changed?

ODEYA: It started with a lot of talking. We had to get to know one another and our methods of working.

DANIELLE: Which we discovered were quite different. Coming from the dance world, I have to commit to a certain visual journey that the audience will experience. Odeya has the freedom to dive into her inside, her questions, her mode, and let that lead her. I have to supply visual results. We learned we need to combine the ways we approach and begin creation. We are different.

ODEYA: We had a lot of in depth conversations which were healthy. I think we converse well. If we were in a romantic relationship I think we would do well.

Laughter

THE INDUSTRY: What are your astrological signs?

DANIELLE: Scorpio

ODEYA: I’m an Aries.

We recognized we were different. We are both directors. Danielle directs her dancers and her company, I direct myself and my music. We are both visionaries and the ones who are in control of our creative work. I think when two forces like that come together, while recognizing they come from different places, can be detrimental. Somehow we managed to have a productive conversation about how and where our points can meet… how we can support each other and this project. I think we share something in our core, even though our starting points of creation are so different.

THE INDUSTRY: Because you are both directors you are accustomed to communicating your ideas to people in clear, precise, deliberate ways. Respect is an element of that. There is a sensitivity to that kind of communication.

ODEYA: Yes. It’s good to know Danielle and I have that.

DANIELLE: Our process feels totally healthy and manageable. I think we are crossfading our worlds because we are talking about physicality and voice. So far in my career I have not dealt with the voice or breath per se, even though I am a dancer. My training is not about breathing or vocalizing. That opens something new for me. Odeya and I think about our bodies in totally different ways with how we approach movement.

ODEYA: The voice is all about imagery and visualization. The muscles contract and expand… The physicality of performing changes depending on how certain gestures effect the breath and sound production.

THE INDUSTRY: What surprising things have you learned from each other?

ODEYA: I’m amazed by how quickly we are making this piece GEST. There were a lot of conversations leading to a point of departure. So many things happen in every rehearsal, I think we feel very capable. Unlike other collaborations I’ve experienced, we’ve been able to distill something pretty quickly. It feels right.

THE INDUSTRY: So the clarity of the collaboration is a surprise?

ODEYA: Yes, and I don’t feel like I’m compromising anything.

DANIELLE: It is very efficient. Perhaps it is our timing- when two individuals meet and their own experience is right they are able to yield and agree, they know what works for them.

THE INDUSTRY: What do you hope people will walk away feeling after they see GEST?

DANIELLE: Inspiration, basically.

ODEYA: We want people to feel inspired and moved. For people to think about something in a different way. Just like any performance.

DANIELLE: Maybe have kids!

ODEYA: Laughter

Maybe they will want to get pregnant!

THE INDUSTRY: What are some of the topics you two have discussed, the ideas that are shaping and moving the piece?

DANIELLE: We chose the title GEST for a reason. This term has led us through our research.

I always consider the result before I begin the product. We learned that we have to build our pictures according to this idea of GEST. For me it acts as a ground for the performance. Odeya expressed that GEST is more about what she is experiencing right now. Perhaps she has more freedom, she is in a different place. Maybe I have more to take off than she does. Our different relations to this term gave reasons for creation, how we found our pictures, our solutions.

ODEYA: There is an arc, which is important for me to know where the piece is going. I want to go through an experience with myself- to know what to save, when to give. A tension emerged – Danielle being physically outward while I come more from an internal space. We are now coming more toward one another. It’s the yin and the yang, the inside and outside. We look at something closely, moments with small lights, then there is something large… the performance breathes in and out. Things shifting and changing.

DANIELLE: People will feel there are two disciplines that had to meet in this work. This work has to mix, bounce, separate… that creates the full experience of GEST.


Lab is The Industry’s new platform for experiments in the collaborative process. Pairing artists from different fields who have not worked together before, Lab offers artists the opportunity to discover new forms through unlikely partnerships.

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