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Curtain Up 2011: A Festival of Dance Premieres

Posted on 30 October 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili

In Her Own Words by Rachel Erdos.  Photo by Yaniv Cohen.

Founded in 1989, Curtain Up (Haramat Masach in Hebrew) has become a centerpiece of Israel’s contemporary dance calendar.  In many ways, the core of this yearly platform has remained the same over the decades: up-and-coming choreographers who operate outside of the country’s major companies receive financial and artistic support to present new works on a series of mixed bills in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Yet in its most recent editions, Curtain Up has added another layer: cultivating artistic directors who are themselves choreographers.  Last year, four alumni of the festival – Tamar Borer, Sahar Azimi, Ronit Ziv, and Renana Raz – were each charged with curating an evening.  This year, Borer, Azimi, and Ziv are returning as artistic directors, applying the lessons they learned in 2010 to Curtain Up 2011, which runs from November 3-12.

Curtain Up’s three programs will each be performed twice at the Suzanne Dellal Centre and once at the Jerusalem Theatre.  In cooperation with the Choreographers Association and Tarbut L’Yisrael, the works created for Curtain Up will also be performed in Israel’s northern and southern regions, enabling these younger choreographers to gain further exposure.

So just what is on the bill for Curtain Up this year?  Here is a video preview of the three programs:

Curtain 1

Artistic Director: Tamar Borer
Choreographers: Iris Erez, Maya Brinner, Maya Weinberg
Performances at the Suzanne Dellal Centre: November 3 and 12 at 21:00
Performances at the Jerusalem Theatre: November 10 at 20:30

Video: Shuttered by Iris Erez

Video: Forest by Maya Brinner

Video: Some Fish (swim up the river to die) by Maya Weinberg

Curtain 2

Artistic Director: Sahar Azimi
Choreographers: Doron Raz, Roy Assaf, Gili Navot, Noa Zuk
Performances at the Suzanne Dellal Centre: November 4 at 22:00 and November 10 at 21:00
Performances at the Jerusalem Theatre: November 8 at 20:30

Video: Valentia by Doron Raz

Video: 6 Years Later by Roy Assaf

Video: Subject to Change by Gili Navot

Video: Speaker by Noa Zuk

Curtain 3

Artistic Director: Ronit Ziv
Choreographers: Hillel Kogan, Rachel Erdos, Osnat Kelner
Performances at the Suzanne Dellal Centre: November 5 at 21:00 and November 11 at 22:00
Performances at the Jerusalem Theatre: November 9 at 20:30

Video: Obscene Gesture by Hillel Kogan

Video: In Her Own Words by Rachel Erdos

Video: The sad little, unappreciative, Pisces, Jesus man by Osnat Kelner

More Information

Tickets for Curtain Up performances are 60 NIS.  For tickets to Curtain Up at Suzanne Dellal, call 03-5105656.  For tickets to Curtain Up at the Jerusalem Theatre, call 02-5605755.

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Shades of Dance 2011 Video Preview

Posted on 04 September 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Lilach Livne’s Monday Larissa.  Photo by Lilach Livne.

 After months of work, sixteen up-and-coming choreographers are ready to unveil their creations in the 2011 Shades of Dance competition at the Suzanne Dellal Centre in Tel Aviv.  Whether you’re wondering which programs to attend or live afar and wish you could see the latest work coming out of Israel, here’s a video preview that will give you a glimpse of this year’s lineup.

Tickets for Shades of Dance performances are available at 03-5105656 or online at the Suzanne Dellal Centre’s website.

Program Alef

September 7 at 20:00
September 9 at 20:00

Video: Gil C. Harush’s TAKANA

Video: Smadar Goshen’s Urbania

Video: Sharon Vaisvaser’s 42 Inch

Program Bet

September 8 at 20:00
September 10 at 22:30

Video: Idan Yoav’s Almost Human

Video: Lee Meir’s Translation in the Body of the Text

Video: Yuval Goldstein’s Expensive Shit

Program Bet also includes Ran Ben Dror’s Agasi Pallas.

Program Gimel

September 7 at 17:30
September 8 at 22:30
September 9 at 12:00

Video: Meytal Blanaru’s Aurora

Video: Moran Yitzhaki Abergel’s Over Me

Video: Lilach Livne’s Monday Larissa

Program Daled

September 7 at 22:30
September 8 at 17:30
September 9 at 14:30

Video: Yoni Soutchy’s Ben

Video: Merav Cohen’s And When the Beast Returned

Video: Amit Zamir’s Buba (Doll)

Program Hey

September 9 at 22:30
September 10 at 17:30 and 20:00

Video: Liron Ozeri’s Caravan

Video: Ido Batash’s Bread and Circuses Blood

Video: Artour Astman’s Foosho

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Shades of Dance 2011: 16 New Choreographers at Suzanne Dellal

Posted on 11 August 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Liron Ozeri’s Caravan.  Photo by Kobi Ben Sasson.

As Idit Herman stepped up to the podium in Yerushalmi Hall at the Suzanne Dellal Centre for the press conference announcing Shades of Dance (Gvanim Bemachol) 2011, she reflected on how meaningful this moment was for her.  Herman – who co-founded Tel Aviv’s adventurous Clipa Theater with Dmitry Tyulpanov – first received widespread acclaim as a creator in 1997 at Shades of Dance, a biennial platform for new choreographers.  Winning the top prize at the 1997 competition helped launch Herman and Tyulpanov’s career; indeed, the award enabled the partners to embark on their next project, and the momentum that built from that initial success progressed until Clipa became a well-known player in the country’s art scene.  Now Herman has come full circle, returning to Shades of Dance as artistic director and helping the next generation of choreographers get their start.

Shades of Dance, which takes place every two years and is now in its sixteenth edition, has undergone numerous changes since its inception in 1984.  The inaugural event was held in Ramla as a celebration of independent choreographers, boasting both concerts and workshops.  Moving to the Duhl Auditorium in Tel Aviv in 1987, the second Shades of Dance bore a closer resemblance to today’s platform with a competition structure inviting new choreographers to vie for a prize.  Shades of Dance found a long-term home at Suzanne Dellal in 1990, and here, it has been led by a string of artistic directors from Ellida Geyra to Naomi Perlov to Hanoch Ben Dror to Herman.  In some years, the choreographers were organized into bills based on themes, while in other years the programs had no titles.  Some editions of the festival included additional shows featuring works by choreographers still in high school.  Occasionally, more than one top prize was awarded, while in 2007 and 2009, Shades of Dance was not organized as a competition.  Amidst all this variation, the constant has been an emphasis on showcasing a broad spectrum of work by new artists who are, more often than not, as yet unknown to the larger public.

Idan Yoav’s Almost Human.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

This year’s Shades of Dance, to be held from September 7-10, will certainly fulfill this aim.  From the 90 aspiring choreographers who applied, Herman selected 16 artists whom she believed were “the bravest among them, who wanted to go all the way.”  These choreographers went through an intensive process, sometimes consulting with the artistic director about how to clearly bring out their works’ content and craft their visual design.  Herman has arranged the resulting dances into five programs according to theme, and noting the great push that the first prize once gave her and Tyulpanov, she is reinstating the competition model so that an award contributed by an anonymous donor may propel the most promising of these young voices to even greater heights.

The five different programs of Shades of Dance 2011 are as follows:

Sharon Vaisvaser’s 42 Inch.  Photo by Araleh.

Program Aleph: Pure Dance highlights virtuoso movement in Gil Carlos Harush’s TAKANA, Smadar Goshen’s Urbania, and Sharon Vaisvaser’s 42 Inch.  Program Aleph will be performed on September 7 at 20:00 and September 9 at 20:00 in Dellal Hall.

Ran Ben Dror’s Agassi Pallas.  Photo by Sarah Ben Dror.

Program Bet: Dream Big features work by four creators whom Herman described as “daring artists with chutzpah.” The program includes Idan Yoav’s Almost Human, Ran Ben Dror’s Agassi Pallas, Lee Meir’s Translation in the Body of the Text, and Yuval Goldstein’s Expensive Shit.  Program Bet will be performed on September 8 at 20:00 and September 10 at 22:30 in Dellal Hall.

Meytal Blanaru’s Aurora.  Photo by Julie Betrad.

Program Gimel: The Future is Now centers on work that Herman calls “futuristic dance” with refreshingly unfamiliar movement.  The bill is composed of Meytal Blanaru’s Aurora, Moran Yitzhaki Abergel’s Over me, and Lilach Livne’s Monday Larissa.  Program Gimel will be performed on September 7 at 17:30, September 8 at 22:30, and September 9 at 12:00 in Yerushalmi Hall.

Yoni Soutchy’s Ben.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Program Daled: Forbidden Fruit has been dubbed “sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll” by Herman and includes Yoni Soutchy’s Ben, Merav Cohen’s And When the Beast Returned, and Amit Zamir’s Buba (Doll).  Program Daled will be performed on September 7 at 22:30, September 8 at 17:30, and September 9 at 14:30 in Yerushalmi Hall.

Artour Astman’s Foosho.  Photo by Alexander Sherbakof.

Program Hey: Rare Animal showcases artists who, according to Herman, “researched the physical border between human and animal” and boast “rare physical abilities, almost beyond human.”  The bill features Liron Ozeri’s Caravan, Ido Batash’s Bread and Circuses Blood, and Artour Astman’s Foosho.  Program Hey will be performed September 9 at 22:30 and September 10 at both 17:30 and 20:00 in Yerushalmi Hall.

A closing ceremony will take place on September 10 at 23:30.

Tickets are available at 03-5105656 or online at the Suzanne Dellal Centre’s website.

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World Dance: Machol Olam 2011

Posted on 10 July 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Video: Trailer for World Dance

This summer, dance from Israel has been crisscrossing the globe with tours and performances at major festivals. In recent weeks, with the five-day Contemporary Israeli Dance Week as part of LaMaMa Moves! in New York City and an extraordinary number of appearances by Israeli artists at the Montpellier Dance Festival in France, Israeli dance has triumphantly showcased its strengths on the world’s stages. Now, from July 11-28, Israel’s stages are about to get a dose of the world’s best dance in a brand-new festival called Machol Olam – World Dance.

Presented by the Suzanne Dellal Centre at the Wohl Amphitheater in Ganei Yehoshua, World Dance offers local dance fans an array of styles.  While Israeli contemporary dance makes an appearance on the celebratory opening night with an excerpt from Barak Marshall’s Rooster, and The Project (a joint production of Suzanne Dellal and the Israeli Opera) will perform Jacopo Godani’s Light Years, by and large, the amphitheater’s stage is ceded to those artists who draw on ballet and flamenco forms.

Drew Jacoby and Rubinald Frank. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.

Indeed, it is the other component of the opening night’s mixed bill – the powerhouse dancers Drew Jacoby and Rubinald Pronk – who more aptly reflect the festival’s stylistic thrust.  Jacoby, a native of Idaho, and Pronk, who originally hails from Holland, met while members of Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York City.  Realizing they had similar artistic ideas, they left the comfort of the company in 2007 for a more adventurous existence as freelance dancers; ever since, they have toured the world in works by a range of choreographers who have capitalized on the pair’s virtuosity and stunning stage presence.  For their first performance in Israel, Jacoby and Pronk will perform three duets: an excerpt from Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s One, Leo Mujic’s B Sonata, and Lightfoot Leon’s Sofly As I Leave You.

Video: Compas in Pavo Real

On July 13, the festvial continues with Pave Real, a co-production between Michal Natan’s COMPAS: The Israeli Flamenco Dance Company and Spanish flamenco dancer Miguel Angel Espino.  Live flamenco and Argentine tango music helps create the mood for the work, which is set in a dance club in the 1930s.

Video: The Israel Ballet in Don Quixote

Hewing closely to Marius Petipa’s original choreography as revised by Aleksander Gorsky, the Israel Ballet’s spirited production of Don Quixote is scheduled for July 16.  Valeria Martynyuk, a member of the famed Mariinsky Ballet since 2004, will dance the lead role of Kitri.

Video: Victor Ullate Ballet

World Dance contains a mini-festival, Madridanza, which kicks off with the Victor Ullate Ballet – Comunidad de Madrid on July 18-19.  Since 1988, the company has been an integral part of Madrid’s dance scene, but this is the first time the troupe is appearing in Israel.  Ullate and Eduardo Lao provide the choreography for El Arte de la Danza, a production that displays the strengths of the company’s dancers.

Video: Compania Flamenca Jose Porcel

Enlivening Madridanza on July 23-24 is Ballet Flamenco José Porcel.  The company will present Moralejas with choreography by Porcel, Rocio Molina, Isabel Bayon, Alfonso Losa, and Ruben Olmo.

Madridanza also boasts a Spanish Gala celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of mutual diplomatic relations between Spain and Israel.  Held on July 21, the concert will feature Porcel, dancers from Victor Ullate Ballet, Michal Natan and Miguel Angel Espino, Silvia Duran, and Gentian Doda and Dimo Kirilov in duets by Doda and Nacho Duato as well as the Ladino singing of Galit Giat.

After Madridanza finishes, World Dance continues with ballet luminaries from both sides of the Atlantic.  Tom Gold Dance – run by the former New York City Ballet soloist – presents a mixed bill on July 26.  Members of NYCB will perform George Balanchine’s Who Cares, Jerome Robbins’s In the Night, Petipa’s white swan pas de deux from Swan Lake, and Gold’s Tango.  The entire extravaganza draws to a close on July 28 with soloists and dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet under the direction of Bruno Bouché in Incidence Choreographique.  The program includes a new work by Nicholas Paul, the premiere of Arantxa Sagardoy’s Timeless, José Martinez’s Overture, an excerpt from William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated and Bouché’s Bless, which was created in July 2010 at Suzanne Dellal.  Ballet connoisseurs outside of Tel Aviv can catch the dancers from NYCB at the Herzliya Performing Arts Centre or the dancers from Paris Opera at Haifa’s Rappaport Hall on the evening of July 30.

For more information, view World Dance’s page on the Suzanne Dellal Centre’s website.  Tickets to performances at the Wohl Amphitheater are available through Suzanne Dellal’s box office: 03-5105656.

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Intimadance 2011: Breaking the Fourth Wall at Tmuna Theater

Posted on 13 June 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Dafi Altebab’s High Expectations.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Don’t be surprised if you find dancers peering out at the risers, posing questions to viewers, or requesting some assistance from spectators at Intimadance 2011.  Held at Tel Aviv’s Tmuna Theater since 2000, Intimadance has drawn a steady following from local art crowds with its adventurous, inquisitive spirit – and this year’s festival is slated to draw audiences in even further as a particularly intriguing roster of choreographers tackles this year’s theme of the fourth wall.

Reflecting on the twelfth incarnation of what has now become a summer tradition, co-artistic director Nava Zuckerman mused, “With each festival we embark on a journey, a series of questions.  The word ‘art’ is an enormous word.  It tries to express many voices, opinions, sensations, everything that screams inside you.  It tries to express them in many languages and ultimately to communicate them from one person to another . . . For me, the dialogue with the audience is important.”

Leo Lerus in PTP. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Under the artistic direction of Zuckerman and choreographer Irad Mazliah, Intimadance 2011 places this dialogue with the audience center stage, and a sneak peek at the festival reveals a range of approaches to closing the gap between performer and viewer.  Choreographers Michal Herman, Dafi Altebab, and Yuval Goldstein all mix their movement with text that pierces the fourth wall; whether seeking the spectators’ approval or questioning the audience’s reaction, the dancers engage the crowd and even elicit chuckles.  Skillfully maneuvering through a quickening sequence in his solo PTP, Leo Lerus invites a viewer to hold tight to the end of a long rope hooked around his neck.  And Hillel Kogan captures attention with his contemporary, socially conscious interpretation of Stravinsky’s iconic The Rite of Spring, layering the score’s crescendos with his amplified singing of well-known nationalistic anthems.

Hillel Kogan in The Rite of Spring. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Besides these choreographers, a number of other artists are also exploring the fourth wall during the four days of Intimadance 2011.  Program A features not only Michal Herman and Yuval Goldstein’s solos but also works by Sharon Weissvesser, Anat Katz and Erez Maayan, Shir Medvetsky and Dina Ziv, Maayan Moses, and Yifat Pell Barkai.  Program B includes the choreography of Dafi Altebab, Leo Lerus, and Hillel Kogan alongside works by Rina Schenfeld, Or Marin, and Yifat Pell Barkai.  Adding to the festival is an array of photography, video, and performance by Lazaro Godoy, Efrat Rubin and Osnat Wald, Noga Shatz, Gadi Dagon, Ella Ben Aharon, Ella Rothschild, and Roni Halban.  Also featured in Tmuna’s gallery will be videodances by eighth grade students in the film and dance departments at the Arison campus of the Tel Aviv School of the Arts.  Rounding out the programming are guest performances of works recently created for the Israel Festival by Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor as well as by Nimrod Freed.  Intimadance kicks off on Thursday, June 30, and in conjunction with White Night Tel Aviv, the first two performances will be followed by a free indie music concert and party.

More Information

Tickets (65 NIS for one performance; 100 NIS for two performances) are available at Tmuna Theater’s box office, 03-5611211.

June 30:
19:00 Program A
21:00 Program B
23:00 Future Shock Live: Free indie music party and concert with Umlala, Lorena B, 2013, and Phototaxis

July 1:
14:00 Program B
20:30 Guest performance: Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor
21:00 Program A

July 2:
18:00 Guest performance: Nimrod Freed
20:00 Program A

July 3:
20:00 Program B

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