Sheetal Gandhi’s students at Bridge: Choreographic Dialogues 2009. Photo by Tully Chen.
When I first came to Israel to research dance in 2007, I occasionally crossed paths in open classes with other dancers from abroad. While local studios have always welcomed dancers from around the world, increasingly, short-term seasonal workshops are geared towards an international population of students. Thinking about expanding your horizons by training in Israel? Here are a few programs to keep on your radar.
Video: KCDC’s International Summer Program
The Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC) has launched an international summer dance program for dancers age 15-20. Taught by directors and dancers of both the main company and its junior ensemble as well as guest teachers, this program’s offerings include ballet and modern technique, strengthening sessions, and classes in the repertory of KCDC’s artistic director Rami Be’er. Participants live in guest houses on Kibbutz Ga’aton, home to the company and the Galilee Dance Village, and besides enjoying their stay on the kibbutz, the dancers enrich their experience abroad with weekend trips to other locations in Israel.
KCDC’s 2011 program is scheduled for July 7-21, and more information can be found on the company’s website.
Dancers at the Gaga Intensive Summer Course. Photo by Gadi Dagon.
Since its inception in 2008, the Gaga Intensive has grown in size and popularity. Taught by Ohad Naharin and members of the Batsheva Dance Company, the two-week workshop includes Gaga/dancers classes, repertory classes focusing on Naharin’s choreography, and methodics classes, sessions which enable dancers to more deeply research key concepts. The course is open to professional dancers and dance students age 18 and up, and classes are held at Batsheva’s studios at the Suzanne Dellal Centre in Tel Aviv.
The 2011 Gaga Intensive Summer Course is already full, but you can stay tuned to the Gaga website for updates about future workshops.
Video: Bridge Choreographic Dialogues 2009
Bridge: Choreographic Dialogues began as a program linking dance artists in Tel Aviv and Los Angeles, but it has grown into a broader endeavor with an increasingly diverse international faculty and student body. Held at the Suzanne Dellal Centre under the artistic direction of Barak Marshall, the two-week program is open to dancers age 20 and up who have at least three years of professional experience. While the exact offerings depend on the program’s faculty, Bridge: Choreographic Dialogues usually features classes in ballet, modern dance, and contemporary repertory as well as choreographic workshops.
Posted on 05 December 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili
Nir Ben-Gal and Liat Dror’s Terminal B. Photo by Naama Nada.
Even though December has started and the shelves of Tel Aviv’s bakeries are lined with sufganiot, the jelly donuts traditionally eaten during Hanukkah, many of Tel Aviv’s residents are still walking around in tank tops and sandals. Unusually hot days and sunny skies have made it easy for the masses to pretend that summer never ended. But for those of us who follow the dance field, there is no denying that the calendar year is coming to a close. The tip-off is in the posters and fliers on display at Suzanne Dellal as well as the press releases and invitations received via e-mail, all announcing the arrival of the annual showcase of Israeli dance: International Exposure.
Nimrod Freed’s Flash. Photo by Itamar Freed.
The exact shape and scope of International Exposure have shifted since its first incarnation sixteen years ago. For many years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it operated in conjunction with Curtain Up, the country’s premiere platform for new works by independent choreographers. The festival has stretched over a varying number of days and welcomed crowds both intimate and large. But throughout, the goal has remained the same: to display the wealth of works premiered over the past year to foreign arts presenters, dignitaries, and journalists in the hopes of sending Israeli dance around the world.
Orly Portal’s Gnawia
International Exposure 2010 will run from Wednesday, December 8 through Sunday, December 12, and the schedule features an enticing array of established companies and independent choreographers. Most of the programs will take place at the Suzanne Dellal Centre, but a number of concerts and informal showings will take place at other performance venues and studios. And while some of the events are offered only to the festival’s guests, many of the shows are open to the public. Below is a guide to the events that are accessible to local dance lovers (and a sneak peek at International Exposure for those of you who are not in town). All shows are at Suzanne Dellal unless otherwise noted.
Wednesday, December 8
Video: Ohad Naharin’s Kyr/Zina
International Exposure starts out with the Batsheva Ensemble, the Batsheva Dance Company’s junior division, performing Ohad Naharin’s Kyr/Zinaat 20:00.
Thursday, December 9
Rami Be’er’s Transform. Photo by Gadi Dagon.
International Exposure’s first full day kicks off at 11:00 with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Rami Be’er’s new Transform, which premiered during the international Tel Aviv Dance festival this past fall.
Curtain Up 2010 will be represented by three separate bills shown at 16:00, 19:00, and 22:30.
Video: Tamar Borer and Tamara Erde’s Ana
Thursday’s offerings also include a performance of Tamar Borer and Tamara Erde’s latest collaboration, Ana, at 20:30.
Friday, December 10
Friday’s programming includes a fair amount of moving about to different theaters in the area.
Video: The Project in Jacopo Godani’sLight Years.
At 14:00, The Project – a joint initiative by the Suzanne Dellal Centre and the Israeli Opera – will present a mixed bill at the Opera House in the heart of Tel Aviv. The program includes Emanuel Gat’s Through the Center, Jacopo Godani’s Light Years, and Marco Goeke’s Supernova.
Video: Vertigo in Mana
Vertigo Dance Company presents a hit from last year, Mana, at the Givatayim Theater at 17:00. Choreographed by Noa Wertheim, Mana premiered during the twentieth anniversary of the Curtain Up festival.
Video: Maria Kong in Miss Brazil
Maria Kong reprises its program from the Tel Aviv Dance festival, Miss Brazil, at 21:00 at Suzanne Dellal. The company’s four founders – Anderson Braz, Talia Landa, Leo Lerus, and Ya’ara Moses – collaborated on the first half of the bill, Miss, while guest choreographer Idan Cohen contributed the second half, Brazil.
Saturday, December 11
Saturday is primarily a day of mixed bills, titled Exposures, that feature both shorter dances in their entirety alongside excerpts from full-evening works.
Video: Yoram Karmi’s Particle Accelerator
Exposure 1, at 11:00, features Fresco Dance Group in an excerpt from the evening-length Particle Accelerator. The bill is rounded out by Rachel Erdos’s OU’.
Video: Rachel Erdos’s OU’
Odelya Kuperberg’s Tzitzushka.
At 13:00, Exposure 2 will include Odelya Kuperberg’s Tzitzushka and a new work from Idan Sharabi.
Posted on 19 September 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili
Video: Preview of Tel Aviv Dance 2010
Four years after its founding, the Tel Aviv Dance festival – an outgrowth and expansion of the earlier Dance Europa festival – is now an eagerly anticipated annual staple of Israel’s jam-packed dance calendar. From October 4-30, dance lovers can take a whirlwind world tour of exciting, exceptionally diverse dance from the comfort of two local dance hubs, the Suzanne Dellal Centre and the Israeli Opera – Tel Aviv Performing Arts Centre (TAPAC).
Yair Vardi (director of Suzanne Dellal) and Hannah Munitz (director of the Opera House) declared in a press release, “As each year in the festival, we try to keep the Israeli audience up to date and present contemporary dance from all over the world, including intriguing, far-away places. This year the festival will host premieres from dance companies from South Africa, South Korea, and China alongside those from the U.S., Canada, France, and Israel.”
The numbers are indeed impressive: by the end of the festival, 12 companies from 9 countries will present 34 performances. And the breadth of genres and aesthetics on display is breathtaking. Tel Aviv Dance 2010′s programming runs the gamut from hip-hop to ballet and offers lavish large-scale works alongside more intimate and modest approaches.
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Sutra. Photo by Hugo Glendinning. Photo courtesy of Ora Lapidot PR.
Tel Aviv Dance 2010′s lineup includes some of the biggest names, old and new, in modern and contemporary dance. From Belgium hails Eastman, a young company headed by the acclaimed Flemish-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Eastman will offer Aleko, Faun, and a new work at Suzanne Dellal. Cherkaoui’s striking Sutra, a collaboration with sculptor Antony Gormley, composer Szymon Braska, and monks from the Shaolin Temple in China, will also be performed at the Opera.
The U.S. modern dance powerhouse Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will also visit the Opera, bringing not only Ailey’s masterpiece Revelations but also George Faison’s Suite Otis, Ronald K. Brown’s Dancing Spirit, and Robert Battle’s Unfold.
Kader Attou’s Petites Histoires.com. Photo courtesy of Ora Lapidot PR.
Hip-hop also makes a few appearances on this year’s program. The French troupe Accrorap brings Algerian choreographer Kader Attou’s PetitesHistoires.com, while ten male dancers from South Korea will offer Shin Chang Ho’s No Comment. On the same bill with No Comment is Kim Jin-Mi’s A Body Conflicting with Emotion, a work for four women.
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Carmina Burana. Photo courtesy of Ora Lapidot PR.
Some ballet influence is visible as well in Tel Aviv Dance 2010′s lineup. From Canada hails the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Mauricio Wainrot’s Carmina Burana and Peter Quanz’s In Tandem. 10 principal dancers from the acclaimed New York City Ballet present a program called To Dance, with excerpts of works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, and Tom Gold.
Dada Masilo’s Carmen. Photo courtesy of Ora Lapidot PR.
Rising star Dada Masilo, a 24-year-old dancer and choreographer from South Africa, has also revealed a predilection towards ballet influences in her work. For Tel Aviv Dance, Masilo brings her dance theater work Carmen to Suzanne Dellal.
Also among this year’s offerings is the Spanish dancer and choreographer Miguel Angel Berna’s sweeping Goya, inspired by painter Francisco Goya.
Maria Kong in Miss Brazil. Photo by Ascaf.
Dance from Israel forms a strong presence in this year’s programming. Barak Marshall’s Rooster, which was a success at the Opera House during Tel Aviv Dance 2009, will make an appearance in 2010 at Suzanne Dellal. Batsheva Dance Company will present house choreographer Sharon Eyal’s Bill, which debuted last May, while the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company will unveil Rami Be’er’s newest work, Transform. Maria Kong Dancers Company, a collective of dancer-choreographers Anderson Braz, Talia Landa, Leo Lerus, and Ya’ara Moses, will offer their own creation Miss as well as Brazil by Idan Cohen.
For a more in depth look at what is in store during Tel Aviv Dance, check out the longer video below. The clips are, in order, Accrorap, Shin Chang Ho, Kim Jin-Mi, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Dada Masilo, Barak Marshall, New York City Ballet, Batsheva Dance Company, Eastman, Miguel Angel Berra, Winnipeg Royal Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Maria Kong, and Eastman.
The Batsheva Dance Company’s dancers might have cooled off at the beach to make this video, but this July, they – and many of Israel’s finest dancers – will be heating up the Suzanne Dellal Center’s stages during SummerDance 2010. The annual festival, called Maholohet in Hebrew (a play on the words for “dance” and “hot”), will take place from July 1-August 31 and boast 84 performances.
Nuevo Ballet Español. Photo courtesy of Ora Lapidot PR.
This year’s programming kicks off with a festival within the festival. From July 1-10, Madrid Dance will showcase Spanish dance including the Antonio Najarro Dance Company, Nuevo Ballet Español, Sharon Friedman and Jesus Pastor, and Pastor and José Marino. More international guests arrive later in the summer with dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet performing their own creations in Incidence Choreographique and with the Black Light Theatre from Prague in Africania.
Video: Rachel Erdos’s OU’ premieres at SummerDance 2010
As in previous years, premieres abound at SummerDance. This year’s bounty, totaling 19 new works, will include premieres by Dana Ruttenberg, Kamea Dance Company, Tamar Borer and Tamara Erde, Portal Dance Company, DaNaKa Dance Group, Yoni Soutchy, Idan Sharabi, Ronit Ziv, Sigal Ziv, Elina Pechersky, Rena Schenfeld, Dafi Altebab, Mami Shimizaki, Sharon Vazanna, Anat Grigorio, the Jerusalem Ballet, and Rachel Erdos. Sahar Azimi, Elad Shechter, and Ido Tadmor offer pre-premieres, and Yaniv Cohen’s work will be shown in its Israeli premiere.
Arkadi Zaides’s Quiet. Photo by Gadi Dagon.
For audiences who missed some of this year’s most intriguing premieres, SummerDance offers a second chance to check them out. Among the offerings are Arkadi Zaides’sQuiet, which recently returned from a tour of Europe, as well as the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Rami Be’er’s Infrared, Fresco Dance Group in Yoram Karmi’s Particle Accelerator, Kamea Dance Group in Tamir Ginz’s SRUL, Kolben Dance Company in Min-Hara, and Animato Dance Company in Nadine Bommer’s American Cinema. Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak’sRushes Plus and Ohad Naharin’s Kyr/Z/na 2010, both highlights of the last season, combine excerpts of older works in a strikingly new context. And Vertigo Dance Company presents not only its recent hit Mana but also White Noise and the now classic Birth of the Phoenix.
Batsheva Dancers Create. Photo by Yoav Barel.
Several evenings pop out from the schedule with a mixture of interesting fare. This year’s festival includes Batsheva Dancers Create, an annual workshop featuring two programs of Batsheva’s dancers in an array of their own choreography. Another intriguing evening is Noa Dar’s presentation of her recent Anualongside a work-in-progress, Banu, which is the extension of her previous creation. And audiences will have a chance to sample a combination of choreographers when established artists host up-and-coming contemporary choreographer. These programs include Dana Ruttenberg and Shlomit Fundaminsky hosting Neta Ruttenberg and Uri Shafir; Sahar Azimi hosting Elad Shechter and Yaniv Cohen; Dafi Altebab hosting Mami Shimizaki; and Idan Cohen hosting Sharon Vazanna.
Beta Dance Troupe in Meeka Yaari and Ruth Eshel’s Fathers and Sons. Photo by Ofer Zvulun.
SummerDance 2010 also features several companies and choreographers that add an ethnic flavor to the Israeli concert dance scene. Beta Dance Troupe blends Ethiopian traditions with contemporary choreography in Meeka Yaari and Ruth Eshel’s Fathers and Sons as well as Adam McKinney and Daniel Banks’s What We are Saying. Rona Bar-On, Sigal Ziv, and Elina Pechersky bring belly dance to the stage, while COMPAS, Silvia Duran, and Tania Vinokur offer variations on flamenco. Adding to the mix is Bangoura, an African dance company that will perform The dance of the drums.
Batsheva Ensemble in Ohad Naharin’s Kamuyot. Photo by Gadi Dagon.
Want to attend a dance performance with your family? Several family-friendly programs are dotting this year’s bill, including the Batsheva Ensemble in Ohad Naharin’s Kamuyot, Kamea Dance Group in Or Abuhav’s The Ugly Duckling, COMPAS in Carmen and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and Noa Dar Dance Group in Children’s Games.
Rounding out the programming are several critically acclaimed works created in recent years, including Yasmeen Godder’s Singular Sensation and Yossi Berg and Oded Graf’s Four Men, Alice, Bach and the Deer, and evenings of work by independent choreographers including Iris Erez, Shlomi Frige, Maya Levy, Michael Miler, and Michal Herman.
Posted on 10 January 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili
Video: KCDC in Rami Be’er’s Infrared
Another guest at International Exposure 2009, Talia Baruch, covers the San Francisco-area dance scene for her blog GoSee– Dance. She wrote some reviews of dances she saw here in Israel in December for her website and is generously sharing them here on Dance In Israel.
Talia’s first guest article is about Rami Be’er’s InfraRed, which was mentioned in my last post about the festival. Read on to learn more about this work, Be’er, and the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company.
* * *
International Exposure 2009—Suzanne Dellal Dance Center | KCDC
By Talia Baruch
Choreography, Stage Design, Lighting Design: Rami Be’er | Costume Design: Maor Tzabar | Sound Design: Alex Claude | Still photography: Gadi Dagon | Review & Copywriting: Talia Baruch
A black garden is revealed.
An invisible world is unveiled through infrared light spectrum.
Black bodies expose colors.
IN THE BLACK GARDEN
Lyrics and music: Rami Be’er
Translated from Hebrew: Talia Baruch
In the black garden
Yellow soldier—shoot all
(Back to. The wall.)
In the black garden
(Get used to hell)
In the black garden
(In the shit. Deep)
In the black garden
(Feel the pain, mate?)
In the black garden…
A soldier stares
A soldier strays
A soldier errs
Rami Be’er’s InfraRed. Photo by Gadi Dagon.
A deep voice delivers the weight of “In the Black Garden” to the taps of a black platoon. They open the show and they’ll also close it, but not just yet. We’re still in for a journey, exploring the tumbles of our human condition, sinking deep into its weaknesses, aspiring to new heights through time and space.
Music is at the forefront of Be’er’s dance compositions. He writes the lyrics & tunes, mixes the electronic sound effects and plays the cello pieces. The opening scene carries you over to another planet, both locally familiar and exotically estranged. A wind storm echoes. Soft oasis waves flutter, lulling you into the Sahara mood, a blazing desert sweeping in like a yellow sea.
The drama sets off with bodies, humans and creatures, pacing through. I quake in my seat, feeling a sudden urge to stretch right out of my spine, when the four-legged creature enters. You know she’s coming out when you hear the slow somber score greeting her cue, like in Peter & the Wolf. Her long black hair glides down to the floor, heavy, with every stretch of muscle elongating her back and limbs, like a preying tiger, graceful and ready to pounce. Her movement is from another dimension, arching, curving, hands turned backward, magnetized to the floor. She shifts back and forth, stretching like sticky gum out of its glued grip.
Rami Be’er’s InfraRed. Photo by Gadi Dagon.
Another twitching image is the cocoon, tightly swaddled: legs breaking out of colored paper wrap, muffling.
Soundtrack creaks: -..I can’t dance it anymore ’cause my feet don’t touch the floor…-
The framework image for this dance is a board game. And on it players make their moves. They represent the three core colors: red, blue and yellow. Then there’s black, absorbing all colors, and white, their void.
Be’er was inspired by Sergeant Pepper’s album cover and commissioned the costume to reflect that 19th-century-European-soldier-uniform look, with the long flap buttoned apparel, set in the three foundation colors. Like players on a check board, the dancers move through space in forward/backward horizontal/vertical taps, at times restrained within the confinements of red, blue and yellow squares laid out on the platform.
About KCDC–Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company
KCDC was founded in 1970 by Yehudit Arnon, who directed it through 1996, as an extension of the Ga’aton Repertoire Dance group. Today the company’s work is identified by the compositions of its Artistic Director—Rami Be’er, who also runs KCDC 2, the young company.
KCDC simultaneously holds 5-6 different dance productions and tours globally.
About Rami Be’er
Rami Be’er was born and raised on Kibbutz Ga’aton in the Western Galilee, northern Israel. Music and art were his bread and butter growing up. His father played violin, his sisters played viola and violin and Rami picked up cello. After completing his mandatory military service, he found himself at a junction: Should he follow a promising music career or pursue a newly explored path in dance?
Motivated by his life-long mentor and teacher, Yehudit Arnon, Be’er voted for the latter, reasoning that composing dance integrated most other stage art forms: music, design and lighting. Rami’s drawing and sculpting background is manifested in the stage and costume design, his passion for music is unleashed in the way he pieces together the soundtrack, and his aesthetic vision is carefully crafted into the lighting design.
“I concoct a total experience of music, text, visual and movement,” says Rami, “taking in my impressions of the bounty all around.” “Dance is a way of life for me. I believe that any art form touches on our human condition and arouses existential explorations. I invite the audience to a journey. I provide the tip of the rope, and leave a wide range for individual interpretation and connotation.”
When asked what are his sources of inspiration, Rami replies that it can be a song he hears, a curious object, the angle in which a sun ray falls on a leaf, pregnant with rain due.
Be’er’s parents, Holocaust survivals, were members, along with Yehudit Arnon, in the commune that founded Kibbutz Ga’aton. Rami joined KCDC in 1980 as a dancer and house choreographer and rapidly made his mark. He has since created over 40 full-piece productions for the company, leaving his signature footprint along the way. Be’er produces at a pace of 1-2 full soirée shows a year, turning the corner for KCDC, now a globally renowned dance company.
About International Dance Village
Far away, on the other side of the rainbow, there is a little village, an International Dance Village, where dance students from around the world congregate to create. When I came to visit, there were people dancing on dirt foot paths, behind glass doors, across lawns. This is a unique program, initiated by Rami Be’er in 2008 on Kibbutz Ga’aton, where KCDC breaths and works.
“The extensive Ga’aton and neighboring community are engaged in this initiative, funded by Raaya Strauss. The kibbutz communal dining hall, named “Beit Raaya,” was converted into 2 spacious dance studios, flushed with morning sun light, where KCDC rehearses daily. There are 6 additional studios on site, with a little “home made” café where dancers and community members hang out and chill. Once a month, on a Saturday, a collaboration between KCDC, Keshet Eylong and Teva Yechiam hostel offers a unique weekend get-away package of dance, music and pampering in the pea-green Kibbutz setting.
“There is a pyramid at the heart of kibbutz Ga’aton,” says Rami Be’er. At the top there lies the performing KCDC, then there’s KCDC 2 and Masa (“Journey” in Hebrew). The surrounding community consists of the supporting foundation of this structure. Masa is a dance immersion program that brings dance students from across the globe for a period of 5 months on the kibbutz. There is no other program like it in the world.
The literal meaning of kibbutz is a collective gathering, but there is also a double meaning in the term Kibbutz galuyot, which means an international collective gathering. And that is what the International Dance Village is all about: a little colony of people nurturing one another, living, expressing and creating ensemble.
Talia Baruch is a writer and translator covering the dance/theater scene in San Francisco, where she has been living for the past 11 years. She is the founder of Copyous, providing creative copywriting and Localization Strategies. The ingredients that shaped her life are the explosive dance scene in urban Tel Aviv, where she grew up, the pea-green English country side, where she inhaled a handsome amount of fresh-manure & horseback-countered through endless woods, and the 24/7 Localization/Internationalization business bustle, that put perspective to it all.www.copyous.com