Rina Schenfeld in her new work, Angels. Photo by Gadi Dagon.
This article is a guest post by Gdalit Neuman. Enjoy!
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By Gdalit Neuman
Tel Aviv native Rina Schenfeld is one of Israel’s most celebrated artists. After studying at the world famous Julliard School in New York in her early twenties, Rina returned home and became a founding member and principal dancer of the Batsheva Dance Company from 1963-1979. There she danced historic roles in works by none other than Martha Graham, Glenn Tetley, and John Cranko, to great acclaim.
After leaving Batsheva, Schenfeld embarked on a highly successful international career as principal dancer and choreographer of her own company, Rina Schenfeld Dance Theatre, which is based in Tel Aviv. She is the recipient of countless distinguished international awards and in 1997 was honored with the Na’amat lifetime achievement award in the realm of dance. The New York Times hailed Schenfeld as “one of the most important artists of our generation.”
Now Rina Schenfeld has done it again. After the tremendous success of her last work Dance Me to the End of Love (ריקדי לקצה האהבה), she will present her latest full length evening entitled Angels (מה לך מלאך?) at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv on June 23rd. Angels is a journey into this first lady of dance’s wild and wonderful imagination. Using songs by Laurie Anderson as inspiration, Schenfeld paints a colorful canvas of images, movement, sound and screen that tempt the pallet and are sure to satisfy. Images of suspended angels, darkness and light, the Garden of Eden, and past and present speckle the stage.
Rina Schenfeld’s Angels. Photo by Gadi Dagon.
The first half of Angels, featuring Schenfeld herself alongside company dancer Hemi Goldin, takes us on a whimsical journey of Hansel and Gretel, among other things, and culminates with a dramatic and tender duet to Nina Simone’s “Wild is the Wind.” The company then joins Schenfeld and Goldin in the second half of the evening, where our story continues. As in Dance Me to the End of Love, here too Schenfeld uses video to draw the audience intimately closer to her world. A highlight is old family photographs that tell not only her story, but each and every one of ours as well.
As a dancer in the company, I had the great delight of seeing Angels develop from its bare bones to a living, breathing organism that is recreated but never replicated twice on stage. Rina’s mastery of creating, composing, and editing but never dictating during this process allowed for a plethora of ideas to come to life, blossom, and bloom. For all of us who were active collaborators in the creation of the new production, Angels signifies a unique and ongoing journey of self-discovery, relationships and ideas.
Credits for Rina Schenfeld’s Angels
Dancer/Choreographer: Rina Schenfeld
Dancers/collaborators: Gali Aizenman, Hemi Goldin, Tamar Weisman, Gdalit Neuman, Joanna Offer, Lilach Raz, Shimrit Sha’ar, Aviv Chalfon
Video: Yuval Cohen
Stills: Gadi Dagon
Costumes: Inbal Liblich
Music: Laurie Anderson, Nina Simone, Hadara Levin, Arvo Part
Angels will premiere on June 23 at 9 p.m. at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv. It will also be performed at the Karmiel Dance Festival on August 5. Angels returns to Suzanne Dellal during the Machol Lohet Festival on August 12-13.
Rina Schenfeld Dance Theatre also hosts open dance classes for the public (beginner to advanced levels) where Schenfeld herself teaches. For more information, please call 03-6046745.
About the Author
Gdalit Neuman is a company member of Rina Schenfeld Dance Theatre. She is a writer, teacher, choreographer and lover of all things that move.