Zufit Simon hates to showcase emotions – the public so easily falls prey to them. So her seemingly impartial performance is invariably crowned by the beautiful, expressionless face of a senior nurse measuring someone’s pulse. Cancelling, of course, any harmonic resonance with the stage character, any fast recognition, or unconscious enjoyment on our part; Zufit Simon builds us no simple psychological bridge. Her humour is rather brittle, too. And neither gesture nor props serve the zeitgeist. But Simon’s mimic abstinence never equalled inexpressiveness. On the contrary, by banishing emotion from her countenance, the dancer unsettled the spectators’ gaze. Where we are accustomed to read meaning, she left a blank. And thus redirected our searching eyes to look at the spectacle of pure motion – which is then revealed to be saturated with all those same projections. Such is the artist’s gift to us that we might re-learn to read the body in her movements. With the trilogy NEVER THE LESS (2013), all about nothing and piece of something (both 2014) she refocuses her efforts at retraining our perception on the traditional instrument of facial expression: she laughs, cries, and shakes with anger as with joy. Despair supersedes exhaustion, suddenly turns into a laughing fit till the tears flow again. Seeing Simon on this rollercoaster of emotions, you can hardly trust your eyes. Here once more the power of her art unfolds. Even as she entertains us, she is teaching us to look more closely.
The performer and choreographer Zufit Simon was born in Israel and studied Contemporary Dance at the University for Music and Performing Arts Frankfurt on the Main. In 2005, she won the 3rd prize of the euro-scene Leipzig for the best German dance solo with fleischlos and the 3rd prize of the International Choreographers’ Competition in Hanover for Meine Mischpuche. Her work has been shown at national and international festivals, for example in Italy, Tanzania, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and France. She was invited to the German Dance Platform in 2012 with Wild Thing and in 2014 with I LIKE TO MOVE IT. In October 2015, she opened the Theaterhaus Jena’s season with director Moritz Schönecker and the production Die Zofen.