Bobbi Jene Smith & Or Schraiber are an inspiring couple. As partners they have danced, choreographed and directed together, describing their lives as “living within a creative
process every minute of the day.” While it could drive most people nuts, Or sees it differently. “I am extremely lucky to have Bobbi as my partner, teacher, best friend, and collaborator. Also, I am her fan, so it is even more fun…!”. Bobbi appreciates that Or “knows what I am trying to say when I have no words, and I trust his vision and taste more than anyone. We are anchors for each other in this crazy sea of life and the creative process.”
For their most recent collaboration Bobbi and Or created GALLOP APACE, SDC’s latest film featuring dancer Sara Mearns and inspired by a pivotal scene in Romeo and Juliet (Act III, Scene ii) in which Juliet reveals the depth of her inner strength and emotions. “Sara came to Bobbi with the idea of being Juliet,” says Or. “We searched for scenes from the play, and this one winked at all of us.” Rarely found in dance and film versions of the play, this particular scene gave them a large platform on which to explore.
With such incredible material and themes to dig into, Bobbi and Or said they had a lot of ideas on how to bring the character of Juliet to life in the present day. Asking questions such as “How has Juliet been portrayed in the past?” and “Are there parts of Juliet that we usually do not get to see?” helped them develop the film’s trajectory and what they wanted the audience to see and feel by watching it.
“Sara was interested in finding her own interpretation of Juliet, one that was full of strength and desire, and someone you could relate to,” shared Bobbi. She hopes viewers empathize with Sara and connect with her portrayal. Or says that his goal as a choreographer “is always to create an opening in the heart of the spectator. Forming a coherent narrative through kinetic expression.”
“In the beginning we were interested in working with the mundane movements that we create as humans when we wait,” says Bobbi. These movements were then amplified by playing with speed and timing, and consequently other themes arose. “We started to ask questions about desire, strength, hope, fear, shame, and pressure. Our interpretation of Juliet started to take shape and we [then added] inspiration from the text.”
Bobbi hopes that their movement style will continue to change and adapt to whomever they collaborate with, and prompt reactions of “Wow! That performer is incredible!”. She is not concerned with having an identifiable style, but simply wants to see people for who they are. Or agrees and adds that he likes to generate movement by “digging into the given circumstances.” When asked what he hopes the audience sees and feels by watching GALLOP APACE, Or’s answer was simple and to the point. “I hope people empathize and remember what it is like to wait for someone so eagerly.”