Air Hunger

scroll down for information, blog, images, and video. 


Air Hunger - community project - for 12 weeks 22 londoners will be working with Hagit Yakira on a new choreographic project, collaborating with the musician Domenico Angarano and the project manager Peta Barrett.





We often forget that we breathe, but never forget to breathe...

We invite you to take a moment to inhale deeply. The instant of losing one's breathe evokes many reactions, images and memories. Performers and audience will be sharing the same breath in a collaboration that will inspire and allow moments of exhalation. Air Hunger is a sensual, emotional and honest sharing of experiences that will leave you breathless.

On the 7th April, we will perform our first performance, at the JW3, 7.30pm, for more information please click here.

Upcoming dates: 

12th April, at 11am and 1pm, at Laban.

As part of Crossing the Creek festival. 

Creekside, SE8 3DZ, +44 (0)20 8035 9400

11th May5.30pm and 6.30pm, at Tripspace

Arch 339-340 Acton Mews, E8 4EA

22nd May, 7.30pm, Laban Theatre. 

Below you can find images, notes form the dancers, and very soon clips and music. Enjoy and join us in our journey. 


Air Hunger- our promo video 

From Hagit:

In December 2014 I went to Norway to teach an old piece I created many years ago for Takeshi and me. In that duet there is a moment we both have our eyes closed and in a disturbing, confusing, and in times indulging sequence of contact we hold each other noses. We struggle with each other and with having no air, trying to deal with what intimacy can sometimes create- a sense of comfort, suffocation and challenge.  

While teaching this duet to the beautiful dancers in Norway I decided I have to create a piece about breath. At that time I didn't know why, I couldn't explain and I didn't want to. For hours, during the dark nights of Norway, I was surfing in the Internet, listening to stories of people experiencing having no air, of struggling to breath. I listened to people's instructions of how it’s best to breath. I read about panic attack, about drowning, about babies who were just born and started breathing, I read stories of old people who died when inhaling and others who died exhaling. These stories became like my heroin, my oxygen. I felt hungry, I wanted more. I felt breathless.

I came back from Norway and started to work on my new project - Air Hunger. For weeks I didn't know why I am doing it and what to do with it, and then one day it hit me. 

Since the last 10 years in London, all I did was escaping the need to suspend. No suspension in London. There isn't time nor space for it. Once suspending the ‘process of becoming’ is in danger. So embodied it is, that even when leaving London, the sense of emergency takes over. It takes over so much that suspending becomes collapsing. Suspension is intense, it's indulging, it opens the gaze, the torso, it stretches the chest, it requires to inhale, it requires to exhale, it challenges balance, trust, connectivity to the floor to ones’ body. Suspension allows interaction, which allows intimacy, which allows reflection, which allows breath.

For the last two months every Sunday I am forced to think about breath. It's like learning from the beginning how to breath. Actually it is more - it is to make a decision whether one choses to breath. It's a decision, and it requires courage. It requires training. It's painful. There is an empty space, alas, empty! A sudden quiet that re challenge intimacy, connectivity, and simplicity. 

Let me end with a story. I was sitting in café the other day and I could not NOT hear a conversation between two women. This is what I heard: 'so you see, I go there at least once a week, it doesn't matter if it's cold or not, and I jump into the water and it's freezing, fucking freezing. And I can't breath for a few second, and then I have to think very carefully about my breath. Every inhale and every exhale count, cause if I do too much or too less I really feel the cold, and oh my god! It’s fucking cold. And I feel so alive in those moments; I don’t know what it is, all I do is thinking about my breath… ONLY thinking about how to breath. Go figure'. 

And there I was, suspend, suspending, suspended…


photos by: Peta Barrett, Ioanna Zouli, Takako Hasegawa


F: I feel safe in this group of people. I think this safety comes from sharing. In the project we are exposed, we act upon our potentials and our limits, we share ourselves. Eventually, both being yourself in the group and being the group yourself comes out so naturally - like sharing air.

G: When I was a child I was really scared of a big black dog, every time I walked near him I was holding my breath hoping he couldn't hear me. 

G: In summer, every time I go back to my hometown, I jump into the sea, lay on my back on the surface of the water and the only thing I can hear it's my breath.
G: A friend almost drowned during a rafting trip, by the time she reached the surface of the water the most difficult thing for her was starting to breath again.
S: I joined Air HUnger because it is about:
Trusting the unexpected
Going beyond the power you thought you had
Initiating movement 1st from the breath and then by anything else
Giving and taking
Being selfish, giving and caring simultaneously
Acquiring the courage to express yourself
I now believe even more strongly that freeing the thought can only be achieved by freeing the body that is holding this thought
You feel the sense of responsibility for yourself and for others equally
You appreciate every single breath and every single touch
You get to know that flying is not impossible
You feel safe, you feel that you belong somewhere
All these feelings are amongst the basic human rights in life, which silently commits crimes everyday by forbidding us and preventing us to experience any of these feelings. Instead they are replaces by stress, anxiety, headaches, confusion, tension, fear, doubt, insecurity and anger.
This is for me a very very rare opportunity to experience life the way it is supposed to be in the first place. And of course to make people aware and remind them of their basic human rights and to invite them to join this amazing journey or game of life. To share with people and not with screens, machines and other prisons of the heart. 
From Laura's sketch book:
M: The first time i felt hunger for air goes back to the moment when i was about 5years old. We played “hide and seek” game with my sisters.  I hid inside the big duvet sheet on the bed. Excitement and adrenalin were pumping inside me. No luck! They found me and started tickling all my body whilst i was inside the duvet sheet. There was not much air left inside... I wanted to get out and stopped being tickled, however they blocked my way without realising how difficult it was for me to breathe. My hysteric plea sounded like a childish laugh and scream during usual games, that’s why no one acknowledged my suffocation. Now, being a 25 year old woman, I can still remember that urge for the air as if it was few seconds ago.
S:Although the majority would relate breathlessness to enclosure, suffocation, fear, illness or even fainting or dying, it gave us (not just myself) freedom of movement, inspiration and energy. I was amazed to experience the lack of air in my lungs as a powerful initiator of body movement. Not only did it feel like dancing underwater. Not only did it feel like being blown away by the wind. It also accelerated the feeling of anticipation. The anticipation to reach for air.
Every breath is a new journey

S: Every non breathing moment is a new journey
Every dive underwater is a new journey
Every step, every decision, every conversation
Every encounter, every relationship, every touch
But don’t embark on any journey if you already have
an image, an expectation or a target
for you will lose the essence of a journey.


L: In the project, we have learned to connect as a group and to make decisions together; we search for hands, we run, we breathe together, we are each other’s ‘source of air’. It is a group trust that allows us to express our hungriness of air, individually and as a group. I find myself that this hungriness for breathing involves a sense of neediness and, at the same time, a sense of survival. At times, to need something involves what we don’t want to need, and yet, even if you don’t want or don’t like needing it, you need it. I’ve also found that breathing can also be a struggle. We run. We stop. We take a deep breath. This seems to me like the in-and-out of breathing that resembles to the typical saying of “just breathe” in our most ordinary everyday lives. You need your air to survive. This is how I relate it to air hunger –the neediness is the hunger itself and the air part of our survival to keep going. Even asking for help or helping others is also about survival. Needing is a human condition, it is what makes us humane and to connect to others; it is offering and receiving. Air hunger to me is as such and what this project -the amazing group of individuals that I’m lucky to be part of- has also taught me: it’s a matter of how to give and also learn to receive… even if at times we don’t remember that you we are going to be hungry everyday and we are going to be hungry always.  


F: I don’t really know where to begin telling the story of it..

‘Air hunger’ is a community project. Or perhaps better said, a project which magically turns us into a community. I refer to magic here not to imply an effortless result, but rather to emphasise the poetics of this process; a process of generative creativity that is stimulated by exposure and sharing.

I guess to begin with, I really feel the need to distinguish the process from the theme of our project. For us - the 22 Londoners - the driving force to take part in this work was the project as a process. We agreed on our participation before knowing almost anything about the topic. We responded to Hagit’s call to explore expression, interaction and creativity through bodily movement. In retrospective, I am thinking that this has been a very strong asset for the whole project. We agreed on experimenting and we were ready to experiment on anything. In a sense, this agreement formed our prior and most important commitment as a community.

So there we were, committed to each other from day one. And here comes magic. How do you take a group of people with no reference to each other and turn them into a chorus of people? Into an ensemble that is feeling, sensing decisions, taking actions, and essentially … just breaths in coherence, in togetherness.

I remember there was a lot of hesitation in the beginning. Hesitation to be exposed, to share, to explore how far you can reach, to discover and then accept or even challenge your limits, to loose yourself in the group, to become invisible, to keep yourself, to stand out, to lead… hesitation all over the place. And the topic…. Breath… this brought in even more hesitation. Breath lies at the essence of life and death. Many times it felt that by revising breath, we revisited hope and fear. It took time and a lot of discomfort to abandon our hesitations.

I think awareness is a key word. Hagit used physical awareness to reach us into an emotional awareness. We worked our way into becoming aware of our physical selves and we started by the simplest possible thing: breathing. It was like taking baby steps. We explored breathing in and out, fast, slowly, breathing while jumping up, lying down, upside down, not breathing, taking breath, giving breath, breathing quietly, loudly… have you ever noticed how your breath sounds? The beauty of it? Try it. You should try it. So powerful is this primitive physical act that simply the experiencing and sharing of its various dynamics, raised some sort of empathy; we found ourselves empathising with the group and we explored how to act and react through movement, through touch, through our senses.

One step at a time, one breath at a time.

In my eyes, there has been a kind of ‘theatrical drama’taking place each Sunday, yet a more self-involved one. An experiential drama, I dare to say. In our Sunday explorations, we experience moments of comedy, and we experience moments of tragedy. Interestingly enough, I find that we are more keen on, or curious about, the latter…  perhaps because of our need for catharsis that comes after tragedy. The project has been a very engaging process. And catharsis comes in many levels.  It is deliberating us and at the same time bonding us. It is a personal journey, but somehow never a lonely one. You can break free from yourself, from others; as much as you can find comfort in yourself, in others. I say ‘comfort’ and I immediately realise how this emotion has been pivotal in our explorations. Comfort - its presence and its absence, the quest for it, the hunger for it, the fear for indulging in it, the denial of it. Emotional comfort, physical comfort. Bonding with the group has been our emotional comfort; as air and breath are our physical comfort.

 On our Sundays, I stretch my body, I move around, I wonder a bit… And then I just inhale air; and exhale… I inhale air; and exhale….

…..until at some point I find the group… And, I inhale comfort.