A Bombyx Mori is a domesticated silkworm. It is one of the leading producers of silk, entirely dependent on humans for its reproduction, and has been so for at least 5,000 years. Bombyx Mori is also the name of Inbal Pinto’s and Avshalom Pollak’s latest dance creation, a moving and contemplative performance that was surely one of the highlights of this year’s Malta Arts Festival.
True to its namesake, this dance-drama production dealt with issues of metamorphosis. Set against a black backdrop that acted as a sort of dark gateway to and from the subconscious, but also as a canvas for dreams, the dancers/actors re-enacted rituals of transformation, alternating between shy, tentative movements and bold, audacious dance. They depicted the struggle of becoming and then being one’s own person, facing a conformist elite that was simultaneously intrigued and threatened by what was new, free and different. Also, a thread acted as a guide, helping one to navigate the labyrinthine convolutions of life, like Ariadne’s helped Theseus. It also became a means how to entrap, how to keep someone under absolute control, in a state of absolute inertia.
Now, imagine all of this and (if you can) more, executed to such a degree of perfection that it became transcendental, sublime. Imagine also the complete absence of boundaries between the audience and the performers, a state in which the experience was one with what was happening on stage.
Yes, it was that beautiful. It was Art with a capital A and you needed to be looking elsewhere not to notice.