IMPRESSIONS: Ori Flomin and Ori Lenkinski Share More Than the Same Name at Arts on Site
Arts on Site, April 14, 2023
Choreographer and Performer: Ori Lenkinski
Musician: Chubby Checker, Pablo Casals
Artistic Advisors: Rachel Erdos, Renana Raz, Ofer Amram
Urban Crawler 2.0
Creator and Performer: Ori Flomin
Live Score: Mal Stein
Recorded Score: Ori Flomin with additional sounds by Azariah Felton
Video artists: Ori Flomin with additional filming by Tony Bordonaro
Performers Ori Flomin and Ori Lenkinski spent most of their lives unaware of each other until a 2019 performance in Tel Aviv, the city Flomin emigrated from and Lenkinski immigrated to, brought them together.
In a shared evening comprised of two multi-disciplinary solos that explore complex intrapersonal relationships, Flomin and Lenkinski prove they share more than just the same name. They each demonstrate wit, humor, and the keen ability to create intelligently-crafted work that dives deep into universal subjects with a personal touch.
Lenkinski, a Canadian born dancer, choreographer, and journalist raised in the United States, reinvents Jackie Kennedy’s 1962 televised tour of the White House in The Suit. Dressed in the First Lady’s infamous pink suit, the artist gives audiences a tour of the stage at Arts on Site. In a breathy, almost hypnotizing voice, she extols the wonders of Flemish bonded bricks in the walls and the delightful creak in one section of the floor. Through text and movement, Lenkinski blurs the details of Kennedy’s life by mixing her own accounts of the oval office and President Kennedy’s assassination with comments about her crooked tooth and first experience jumping off a diving board. This blurring serves a purpose: mixing mundane moments with profound events, told through the character of a powerful historical figure, Lenkinski draws attention to the internal struggle between what we keep hidden and what we choose to reveal.
Built from pedestrian gestures, the sequential movement phrases in her storytelling progressively become more aggressive. Her practiced calm cracks, exposing agitation. As she lists all of her losses in a tumbling rush of words — 412 doors, 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 2 hands — she thrashes on the floor, unable to return upright.
Lenkinski eventually composes herself and concludes her list: “One lady. The First lady.” When she walks decisively to the creaky part of the floor and stomps on it, we see vulnerability become strength. The victory feels communal.
In Urban Crawler 2.0, Flomin explores his relationship with innovation and progress as he struggles to center himself amidst sensory overload. The sounds of cell phones ringing, text alerts chiming, and typewriter keys clacking peak to the point of becoming overwhelming, and Flomin, overcome by their insistence, can’t keep up. At times his movements align with the rhythm of the rings and beeps as if he is adapting to a fast-paced environment, but he is suddenly out of sync again, careening around the stage in wide arcs.
Flomin, originally from Israel and a former member of the Stephen Petronio Company, magnetizes with an ability to appear both wildly off balance yet perfectly in control. When he stops to answer an actual cell phone, he sounds annoyed and takes the call offstage with a flippant apology. We are put on hold.
Musician Mal Stein replaces him and, rather than burdening us with all too familiar elevator music, Stein’s score is ambient and reverberating, creating a deep-sea environment. When Flomin returns, he is holding a small projector and shines it on the floor. He crawls into its square of light like an insect, coiling and unfurling. His movements are connected to the earth, visceral and easy. Images of bugs, dirt, cherry blossoms, and his own tripled form float across arms, legs and faces as Flomin moves the projector into the audience. This intimacy is inviting. Here, technology brings strangers together, forcing us to look at parts of one another we may not otherwise dwell upon.
Ironically, Flomin’s use of technology invites us to disconnect from the beeping, buzzing, scrolling, and texting that permeate our daily lives, and connect with each other and the natural world. When he lays on the floor and images play over his face, the effect is double-edged: he is at one with nature yet consumed by technology, his face taking on android characteristics, yet entirely at peace. For now, he has adapted.