I still remember my visit to Adama in April 2008 quite vividly. After soaking in some of the calm of the dance center’s desert surroundings, I switched gears and entered a whirlwind of activity: taking class with Liat Dror, interviewing her, observing more goings-on, and improvising in an evening jam. As if the day wasn’t stimulating enough, I then sat down with Nir Ben-Gal for another interview.
When I turned off the digital voice recorder that evening at midnight, I offered Nir a heartfelt thanks for speaking with me. Not only had he been generous with his time and energy – we started the interview late at night, after he had led the warm-up for Adama’s spirited jam – but he was extraordinarily generous with his thoughts and his passion. Besides talking about his pathway into dance, his creative process, and the workings of Adama, Nir shared his outlook on dance, religion, culture, healing, and non-violence. It was an inspiring conversation that continues to surface in my thoughts even outside of my research. May you be similarly moved!
Video: Adama in Liat Dror and Nir Ben-Gal’s Airfield
Interested in visiting Adama? Adama is hosting a Magic Summer Night from July 16-17, which includes a performance of the company’s latest work.
The several hour trek south from Tel Aviv to Mizpe Ramon in the Negev desert is tiring, but at the end of the journey is a refreshing oasis: Adama, an extraordinary dance center created by Liat Dror and Nir Ben-Gal. I first experienced the magic of Adama during a two-day visit in January 2008 and was thrilled to return in April 2008 for some more dancing and an interview with each of these choreographers.
I interviewed Liat after she taught a dance class for the Adama school’s students, the company members, a group of photography students visiting from Sderot, and a few “tourists” like myself who had dropped in for a few days. The mixture of people was as unique as Adama itself. Intrigued? Join us as Liat talks about how she and Nir forged a new path in Israeli contemporary dance, moved to the desert, and developed an innovative approach to healthy, healing movement.
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To catch a glimpse of Liat and Nir’s groundbreaking and prize-winning Two Room Apartment (1987), which we discuss in our interview, check out the first minute of this video. The rest of the video focuses on Nir and Liat’s current work in the desert, offering an inside look at Adama and scenic views of Mizpe Ramon.
Video: Liat Dror and Nir Ben-Gal
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Adama’s dancers rehearsing in April 2008.
Adama is currently gearing up for a busy summer: the company runs a summer course from July 12-17 and a teachers’ course from July 25-28. Visitors may also enjoy Adama’s Magic Summer Night from July 16-17, which includes a performance of the company’s latest work.
As I have traveled through Israel’s dance circles, I have run into Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha’al many times: at Vertigo Dance Company’s concerts at the Suzanne Dellal Center, at contact jams, and at a performance of Noa’s work on students from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. With their company, their school in Jerusalem, and their growing artist village on Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed-Hey, this dynamic couple is a powerful force in the Israeli contemporary dance scene. They’re also revolutionary in their community-centered and environmentally-conscious approach to dance.
Video: Vertigo Dance Company’s Birth of the Phoenix
In this interview, held in the spring of 2008, Noa talks about raising a family while directing a company, building the Eco-Art Village, choreographing the site-specific environmental dance Birth of the Phoenix, and engaging in “tikkun olam” – healing the world – through her work.
Noa Wertheim’s White Noise. Photo by Gadi Dagon.
When we spoke two years ago, Noa was mounting her White Noise, and in the fall of 2009, she premiered her Mana at the Curtain Up Festival. Along with her iconic Birth of the Phoenix,these two works are now being performed by Vertigo at the Israel Festival in Jerusalem.
When we sat down to talk in January 2009, I discovered that a conversation with Barak Marshall is very similar to his choreography: fast-paced, peppered with diverse cultural references, and chock-full of attention-grabbing details. These qualities had captured my eye when I saw the premiere of Monger, and when I saw a rare restaging of Barak’s first work, Aunt Leah, I realized these were hallmarks of his craft since the day he stepped into the studio.
As we cafe-hopped in bustling central Tel Aviv during a Friday afternoon, Barak and I delved into a deep, lively discussion covering both his own choreography and the larger context of contemporary dance. Join us for the first part of our interview as Barak talks about his background, his connection to Inbal Dance Theater and Yemenite dance, and the trajectory of his early career from the making of Aunt Leah to his appointment as the house choreographer for Batsheva Dance Company in 1999. Barak, who splits his time between Tel Aviv and Los Angeles, also reflects on the development of Israeli contemporary dance and differences between the dance scenes in Israel and the U.S. Continue Reading
Usually I meet choreographers before I interview them, or at least I have seen a concert or two of theirs. But having heard plenty of positive buzz and watched some captivating clips on YouTube, I was sufficiently intrigued about Andrea Miller to set up a Skype conversation with the New York-based choreographer this summer.
Unlike most of the artists I’ve interviewed in the last two years, Andrea isn’t Israeli. However, she’s no stranger to the Israeli contemporary dance scene. Prior to taking Manhattan by storm with her three-year-old company, Gallim Dance, Andrea lit up the stage as a member of the Batsheva Ensemble. I couldn’t help but wonder if and how her fresh aesthetic had been affected by her time here in Israel.