Home Port Festival: History in the Making for the Choreographers Association

Israeli Choreographers, Israeli Festivals


Choreographers celebrating before the opening of the Home Port festival.  Photo by Dorit Talpaz.

This may sound a bit extravagant, but I don’t think I am exaggerating.  Last night I witnessed dance history – and I hope that the opening night of the Home Port Festival (and the festival itself) will go down in the books not as an isolated moment in time but as the recognized beginning of a new stage, figuratively and literally, for Israel’s independent choreographers.

The excitement was palpable when I arrived at the festival last night, and the energy only grew as more people streamed into the enormous hangar.   While Oy Division played a rousing klezmer set, I mingled with choreographers, dancers, administrators, government officials, dance writers, and dance fans.  Everyone seemed to recognize that this collective celebration of individual creation was a momentous occasion.  The dream for a permanent home for the Amuta‘s artists, though still not fully realized, no longer seemed like an impossibility; indeed, the possibilities of what the dance scene would gain in the next weeks at Home Port emboldened the choreographers to dream anew.

After the enthusiastic crowd overflowed the risers, a one-of-a-kind dance marathon commenced.  39 choreographers from the Amuta presented a total of 33 solos and 3 duets, and 38 of the choreographers themselves delivered electrifying performances.

My intention was simply to watch and enjoy, but as each piece sparked snippets of ideas, I started scribbling furiously.  What follows is my ode to the Amuta, a series of one-line impressions from each selection.   Please read on . . .

* * *

Group 1

Talia Paz‘s superbly articulate body

Sahar Azimi‘s commanding and sometimes comedic presence

Idan Cohen tearing across the stage to Tchaikovsky

Tamar Borer‘s fingers walking like a spider’s legs

strength and passion merging in Neta Shizef‘s body and beats

Dafi Altebab, super smooth and subtle in her Superman shirt

Aviv Eveguy as Superman, soaring through the air with tour jetés and a cape

Yasmeen Godder, emanating fierceness and thoroughly transfixing

Nimrod Freed, totally transformed with wig, mask, and finely-tuned motions

* * *

Group 2

Ran Ben Dror‘s liquid legs and hypnotic undulations in Mimi Ratz Wiesenberg‘s work

Anat Katz‘s intriguing angles and invigorating energy

Robby Edelman meandering mysteriously through the space

Ya’ara Dolev and Amit Goldenberg‘s marvelously measured, jointed movement

Noa Dar‘s swaying hips and supremely expressive face

Dina Telem‘s clever costuming and childlike exuberance

Ronit Ziv‘s pitch-perfect speech and fabulously full-bodied dance

Tomer Sharabi getting down with a loose-limbed groove

Renana Raz showing national spirit with extraordinary verve

Arkadi Zaides‘s body propelled through space as if possessed

* * *

Group 3

each body part a surprise in Anat Shamgar‘s solo

Shlomit Fundaminsky‘s characteristic quirkiness mixed with a dash of cool

Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor offering a lens into their collaborative choreographic process

Ofra Idel riding guitar riffs with sultry swirls of movement

Dana Ruttenberg‘s legs transcending their flesh and bone

Sally-Anne Friedland, queenly in her lettuce headdress

Sigal Ziv‘s mesmerizing isolations and layered rhythms

Abigail Rubin, blindfolded but still bold

Nadar Rosano‘s quiet power while beating his breast and collecting himself

* * *

Group 4

Ilanit Tadmor‘s body singing with the live vocalist

Alice Dor-Cohen, speaking with both her voice and her body

Odelia Kuperberg sneaking surreptitious glances and springing from the floor

Gilat Amotz keeping the beat in the most amazing ways

Maya Levy curving into the deepest of contractions

Michal Herman‘s sinuous long limbs and prolonged arch

Sharona Florsheim‘s subdued stances to the sounds of a mellow saxophone

Yossi Berg and Oded Graf slow dancing bare-chested before becoming fast-moving sculptures

* * *

Kol hakavod and mazal tov to all of the choreographers and to Sigalit Gelfand, head of the Amuta.

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