Inside a beautiful house on State Street, a table of VIP foodstuffs stood alone in the back room. A little sign read “Performers Food Table,” and a hovel of dancers from Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company crowded around shoveling food into their mouths, looking burnt out. The “Everybody Else Food Table” had a hot food buffet with enchiladas, bean salad, quesadillas, and dips. Mexican-style mantas served as tablecloths, while dainty floral Chinese lanterns hung from the trees by the bar — interesting choices for a party celebrating an Israeli dance troupe.
Jalapeño peppers floated in a large glass pitcher with a spout atop the small bar at the end of the driveway-turned-courtyard. “Jalapeño-infused margarita,” the bartender explained, “very nice.” The results of my taste test told me plain old margarita, a bit mellowed.
Among a very casual gathering of Spoleto lovers, the buzz was consistently positive. I watched a woman approach Oyster dancer Nir Tamir excitedly. “You were in the show? That was just magnificent! We loved it!” When I asked what particularly had struck her fancy, “Oh, just everything!” “The movements looked so difficult!” another guest exclaimed. “Yes,” Tamir admitted. “It is very challenging.” He’s been dancing with the company for 10 years and actually helped to create Oyster, which the company has performed over 400 times. “It changes all the time,” the Tel Aviv native explained.
Tamir looked exhausted, as did company co-founder Avshalom Pollak, who looked like he was going to fall asleep standing upright, though he tried sincerely to converse politely with anyone that approached. His wife, Inbal, was back home in Israel with their two small children. As gracious as they were, we couldn’t help but wonder if it was the best idea to force this troupe of jetlagged dancers to a quiet South of Broad party at 10 p.m. on a Thursday night.