Sport of kings: ‘Invisiball’ stages a faux soccer match

for The Brooklyn Paper
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These performers have no balls.

Ten female dancers will create an over-the-top, immersive soccer game on a Gowanus stage on June 24–26, but their blend of sports, comedy, and dance will be missing one thing — a soccer ball, says the show’s creator.

“‘Invisiball’ is watching a soccer game without a ball. Literally,” said director and choreographer Nadine Bommer, who grew up in Israel. She says the whole experience of the performance will be like going to a match — but she does not actually know what that is like.

“The funny thing is I have never seen a game in my life. Not on television or in real life,” said Bommer.

The choreographer got all of her knowledge of soccer second-hand, from enthusiastic Israeli men for whom soccer is almost a religion, she said.

“It’s only through the enthusiasm of Israeli men in my life and all around me that I have any connection to this game,” said Bommer.

She remembers walking her dog on game nights and hearing the excitement from the streets.

“I could almost understand the game just from the shouts and cheering,” said Bommer.

That almost-understanding led her to create a show with a stage that mimics a soccer field, dancers in teams with yellow or red uniforms, and an audience that transforms into soccer fans.

Her theatrical style, called Animato, is all about getting into character, she said. Every story or situation she chooses comes from a humorous place and is expressed in a physically exaggerated way. In “Invisiball,” the show’s ten dancers turn themselves into buff jocks.

“The fact that delicate female dancers are portraying hard-soccer playing guys brings out the humor for me and for them,” said Bommer. “Having the freedom portray ‘guys’ with all their extreme and private behavior without a filter, it ends up being very funny.”

Fans can even nosh on hot dogs ($3) and slurp down beer and wine ($5) to help get into the stadium mind set.

The show, which has traveled to Berlin, Prague, Copenhagen, Bologna and Macau, has had enthusiastic receptions since it began touring three years ago. Bommer said the audience does as good a job as the performers.

“They really got attached to their teams like it was a real soccer game and also came away with a great appreciation for the art,” Bommer said.

“Invisiball” at 501 Union [501 Union St. between Nevins and Bond streets in Gowanus, (347) 529–6486,]. June 24–26 at 8 pm. $40 ($35 in advance).

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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