Category Stage Notes

Joffrey Artists Amanda Assucena and Alberto Velazquez in Itzik Galili’s ‘Mono Lisa’. Photo by Cheryl Mann.

It doesn’t take much to see Itzik Galili’s body-bending ballet for what it is. 

“It's one of those pieces that, right before you’re about to go on stage, you know you’re going to get tired,” says Joffrey Artist Alberto Velazquez.

Mono Lisa is, at times, a feat of incredible stamina and extreme concentration. Limbs and body parts start one way, only to change direction on a dime. Just when you think the movement stops, it keeps going. Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get faster, it does. In some ways, this is the creative juice that makes Mono Lisa stand out for the people performing it. 

“It felt foreign to us because it’s not something we’ve ever really done before,” says Joffrey Artist Amanda Assucena, who also called the piece “very rewarding” as a performer. 

Highlighting the unconventional is a distinct characteristic of Galili’s work. In the spring of 2019, the Joffrey welcomed Galili, a former dancer with Batsheva Dance Company in Israel, to the studios of the Joffrey for the first time. 

In this episode of Stage Notes, Assucena and Velazquez discuss what it was like working with Galali and how they mastered his work.