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Contemporary Israeli Dance Week in New York City

Posted on 07 June 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Yossi Berg and Oded Graf’s Heroes.  Photo by Tamar Tal.

Contemporary Israeli Dance Week in New York City

by Stacey Menchel Kussell

With world renowned choreographers like Ohad Naharin, Yasmeen Godder, and Inbal Pinto, over sixty registered dance groups and many more emerging artists – Israel has become a powerhouse in the world of modern dance. While Israeli contemporary dance companies have been headlining prominent European dance festivals for years, many Israeli choreographers are still unknown in the United States. New York’s Contemporary Israeli Dance Week, June 8-12th, 2011, is going to change that.

The festival, a five-day event including performances, video presentations, and community classes, profiles nine of Israel’s up-and-coming dance groups – Arkadi Zaides, Idan Cohen, Yossi Berg & Oded Graf, Maya Brinner, Maya Stern & Tomer Sharabi, choreographers based in Israel; and Deganit Shemy, YelleB Dance Ensemble, Netta Yerushalmy, and LeeSaar Company, based in New York City. The dance films featured are by the “D for Dimension – Animative Videodance” project – a collaboration between three leading Israeli professional schools of dance, photography, and video.

The LaMaMa Experimental Theatre Club (E.T.C.), a home to New York avant-garde theater since 1961, will fittingly host the performances as part of its LaMama Moves Dance Festival, an annual international dance showcase. Created by the late Ellen Stewart, the LaMaMa E.T.C. is a world renowned cultural organization that seeks to nurture and support performance work by artists of all nations and cultures.

YelleB Dance Ensemble.  Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.

“There is really an intense and pervasive energy in Israeli contemporary dance right now,” says Edo Ceder, who is both a producer and a dancer in the YelleB Dance Ensemble. “This series will feature both Israeli choreographers based in New York and in Israel, and will be an opportunity for the U.S. to see our work represented as a community. By exhibiting both emerging and more established artists at a venue like LaMaMa we can show the full range and texture of what is really happening in the field.”

Arkadi Zaides’s Quiet.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

While each artist investigates diverse topics in their choreography, all of the works involved in the series are in some way about pushing past boundaries. Arkadi Zaides’s internationally acclaimed Quiet, a quartet that features two Arab and two Jewish men, will make its U.S. premiere at the festival. The piece explores the concept of communication and delves into the tension of the Arab-Israeli conflict that Zaides feels is “imprinted on the body” of everyone in the region. “There has been such an emotional reaction to the piece,” explains Zaides, “it has opened up so much discussion about the need for dialogue–the need to talk, and to not be in silence, just ignoring our issues. I’m excited to show the piece and open it up to the New York audience.”

Idan Cohen’s My Sweet Little Fur.  Photo by Ran Biran.

Idan Cohen, who will present his solo My Sweet Little Fur, is also enthusiastic for this opportunity to connect with the American audience. He feels that his choreography, like many of his peers, is a coping mechanism for the confusing elements of his environment: “There is a lot of commotion in Israel – diverse people with diverse convictions who live in a very confined space. Our dance helps us articulate our identity.”

Maya Brinner’s Red Ladies. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Maya Brinner, whose Red Ladies, will also make its New York premiere, feels that while she is challenged by her surroundings, she is also nurtured by a very supportive artistic community. Before creating her own work, Brinner performed with Noa Dar and Emanuel Gat, and studied at the Jersualem Acadamy of Music and Dance. She recognizes the importance of the excellent training available in Israel, and the great foundation the bigger companies like the Batsheva Dance Company have established for the country. Many of the dancers in the New York festival have trained or danced with Batsheva and studied with its director, Ohad Naharin. Naharin’s influence on Israeli contemporary dance has been profound, and even choreographers with different movement styles have felt his effect.

“I think we all owe a great deal to Ohad for paving the way,” says Maya Brinner who will show her work in the festival. “But, I also think this dance week in New York is an opportunity to see how far we’ve come. There are many companies in Israel now, and new projects are sprouting up all the time. We are greatly supported by our government and local arts programs, and have also received great praise for our performances in Europe and Asia. Contemporary Israeli dance has really come of age.”

The festival, produced by Edo Ceder, Michal Gamily, and Hila Kaplan, is the first Israel focused dance event of its kind in the U.S., and has plans to develop into an ongoing tradition. “We don’t expect to change the world with one festival,” says Ceder. “But we do hope to make an introduction and foster dialogue. We want to show others the variety and the power of the dance that comes from our nation.”

Contemporary Israeli Dance Week runs June 8-12, 2011 at the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. 74A East 4th Street (btw Bowery & 2nd Ave) New York, NY 10003. For more information call: 001 212.475.7710 or go to

About the Guest Author

Stacey Menchel Kussell received her Master’s degree in European and Mediterranean Studies from New York University. She has previously written on the Mediterranean experience of the Holocaust, and the Jewish community of Spain. Her work has been published in the Jerusalem Post, The Forward, and Presentense Magazine. Her current project examines contemporary Israeli dance.

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Batsheva Dance Company: The Evolution of Ohad Naharin’s “Sadeh21”

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Photo: Ohad Naharin’s Sadeh21. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Watching Batsheva Dance Company in an open rehearsal of Ohad Naharin’s latest creation, I was keenly aware that evolution is at play.  Sadeh21 – literally Field21 – is roughly 6 weeks into its genesis, and it is scheduled to premiere at the Sherover Theatre as part of the Israel Festival in Jerusalem on May 25, 2011.  Dressed informally in their own clothes, the troupe’s twenty members showed a sizable segment of the work to a crowd of journalists in Studio Varda on April 13.

During a few sections, Naharin called out instructions to the dancers, highlighting the element of change that is part and parcel of the creative process. And indeed, in the six weeks between now and its premiere, Sadeh21 will no doubt undergo many changes. What we writers will see in May will bear a resemblance to its forerunner, but it will look decidedly different. Onstage, there will be choreographic sections that we have not yet viewed and alterations to what we did watch – additions, subtractions, refinements. Naharin noted that he and the cast have paid special attention to the interpretation of the work, which will certainly deepen with time. And in the theater, Sadeh21’s full staging will be revealed, including lighting by Avi Yona Bueno (Bambi) and costumes by Ariel Cohen.

Photo: Ohad Naharin’s Sadeh21. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Yet even at this early point of its development, Sadeh21 is rich with layers.  The composition juxtaposes solos and duets with larger ensembles, clean lines and formations with an organic chaos that, when featuring all twenty dancers, brings to mind the image of children gleefully tearing across a playground.  Sometimes a particular structural motif surfaces, the clarity of form enhancing the strength of a section as it unfolds.  And throughout, the movement captivates and surprises.  Bodies extend to their furthest points and then contract, speedily changing shape with seemingly no preparation and referencing motions both familiar and novel.  These dancers may have the same flesh and bone makeup as the rest of us, but at times they appear to be pure liquid, poured into constantly shifting molds.

Naharin’s movement language, Gaga, has been used as a toolbox throughout the construction of Sadeh21, and traces of the ideas explored in classes are visible to viewers who have taken Gaga.  Several women slink into their own gentle grooves before periodically convening to start a small gesture in unison – clapping, tracing a circle in the air with one finger, making a fist and punching, pushing the pelvis upwards from a crablike crouch.  Keeping the same tempo, the dancers gradually increase the size of the movement until it is as big as possible, enlisting more and more of their bodies until every part is contributing to the effort.  While the movement can be silly, it is sophisticated, imbued with pleasure in the discovery of new options and laced with humor.  Both a woman pattering offstage on all fours with her tail in the air and a man hopping across the space with one leg tucked up flamingo-style bring a smile to my face; a woman rhythmically lifting her hips in a long and winding march endears herself to me.

It’s not just the clever, sometimes lighthearted physicality that stirs my feelings in this version of Sadeh21.  The interactions between the dancers – from simple looks to tender clasps of hands to more intricately designed contact – resonate with a range of emotions.  And when a man tilts his face up, assumes an optimistic expression and high-pitched tone, and verbalizes sweetly in an invented language, I can’t understand what he is saying.  But I am nevertheless drawn to him, and I find myself responding with laughter, affection, and a touch of concern as he is forcibly removed to the side of the stage.

Photo: Ohad Naharin’s
Sadeh21. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Somehow, the emotional power of the dance seems closer to the surface in Sadeh21, more readily available and potent than in some of Naharin’s recent creations such as MAX (2007) and Hora (2009).  From this viewing, it seems that the work may share the epic tone and theatrical prowess that enthralled audiences in Naharin’s earlier productions for the Israel Festival, including Kyr (1990) and Z/na (1995).  It may well be that in Sadeh21, Naharin has gathered the fruits of his artistic research over his twenty-one years at the helm of Batsheva – the more overtly dramatic sensibility that characterized his large-scale works from the 1990s and the cornucopia of physical possibilities gleaned through Gaga – and married them together.   Sadeh21’s own evolution will continue in the womb of the studio during the next six weeks, and knowing Naharin’s ongoing engagement with his creations, the work will certainly change further as it lives in performance.  I for one am interested in seeing the dance in its next developmental stages – and in contemplating its place in Naharin’s artistic evolution.

Performance Information

Batsheva Dance Company will premiere Ohad Naharin’s Sadeh21 during the Israel Festival at Jerusalem’s Sherover Theatre on May 25-27, 2011.  Additional performances include May 31-June 4 (Herzliya Performing Arts Centre), June 5 (Modi’in Performing Arts Centre), June 9-11 (Suzanne Dellal Centre), and June 13 (Carmiel Performing Arts Centre).

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Reflections on a Batsheva Season

Posted on 24 March 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Three by Ohad Naharin.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

After the flurry of premieres during Curtain Up in November and the dazzling array of performances during International Exposure in December, the contemporary dance scene in Israel quiets down for the winter.  To be sure, this is not exactly a period of hibernation; there are still concerts nearly every night, and here and there, a few new dances are unveiled.  But with a break in the festival schedule, it seems that many choreographers hunker down and work on their next projects in the studio, while companies and independent artists re-present their recent repertory on stage.

Easily the most extensive and tempting display of repertory on view this year has come from Batsheva Dance Company, which has repeatedly drawn local audiences to the Suzanne Dellal Centre with a series of performances spread throughout the last few months.  In this guest article, Brian Schaefer reflects on the company’s choreographic wealth.

* * *

Reflections on a Batsheva Season

Winter, 2010/11
MAX – Hora – Three – Kamuyot

By Brian Schaefer

Revisiting MAX

MAX by Ohad Naharin.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.


You can own a movie and re-watch it whenever the mood strikes. You can own a book and can pull it off the shelf when inspiration hits. You can own a painting and can glance at it every time you pass. Those things never change. Which doesn’t mean that you don’t discover new things upon multiple viewings, but the work itself won’t alter. And whether you watch that movie once or ten times, in the course of a year or over five, well, that’s entirely up to you.

Live performance is another thing altogether, dance in particular. The ability to revisit a particular work in and of itself is a rarity. Unless you live in a major dance center with major companies that host home seasons and have a repertory large enough to rotate on a regular basis, the opportunity to see a work multiple times is available to few. And even if you are lucky enough to see a work multiple times, chances are that casts will change and even perhaps a bit of the choreography itself. And because it’s live, anything can happen. Which is why we love it. In essence, you never really watch the same thing twice. And thus, you can’t own a dance. You can revisit a dance, stop by to say hello, check in on an old friend and see how he’s doing and what’s new in his life, but you can’t move in.

The first time I met MAX (choreography by Ohad Naharin and performed by the Batsheva Dance Company) was in 2007 at the Suzanne Dellal Centre in Tel Aviv. The second time was a year later, also in Tel Aviv. The third time was in San Diego, CA in February of 2009, and the most recent meeting was last month, in December of 2010, back at Suzanne Dellal.

He looks more or less the same, as good as I remember him, though of course a few things have changed though I can’t entirely put my finger on them. He’s still passionate and intense, but in a quiet way, a bottled-up energy that is always on the verge of explosion. As I remember, there seems to be a cloud always hanging over MAX’s head, threatening to release a storm. And yet, there is still that twinkle in his eye, a sense of mischief.

He continues to speak that gibberish language, undecipherable and yet somehow vaguely familiar – a tongue that perhaps you learned before you were born. It’s ancient and angry and somehow more descriptive than any vocabulary you already know.

Though I’ve visited MAX several times before, perhaps more than any other dance piece that I haven’t myself been a part of, I keep forgetting how precise he his. How razor sharp those movements are, how quickly they slice, how unexpectedly they appear. It’s startling.

I forgot how quickly my heart beats when I’m with MAX. I forgot how magnetic he is – those moments of accumulation and repetition that trick me into a trance while still keeping me guessing (one…, one-two…, one-two-three…, all the way up to ten and then he starts again). I forgot that even in darkness, he makes me feel illuminated.

It’s all too rare to have such a simultaneously kinesthetic, emotional, and psychological response to a dance. Only masterpieces deliver such a potent combination and I do believe this is one. As only powerful performance can do, it remains in your body, not on your shelf.

And grateful am I that while I can never take MAX home with me, or see him on-demand, or dust him off for another look any time I choose, I have been able to visit him every now and then, to see this living, breathing piece of art grow and evolve, and allow him to reach out, grab my shoulders and shake me again and again.

Deconstructing the Hora

Hora by Ohad Naharin.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Last year at International Exposure, the five-day festival of Israeli contemporary dance for arts presenters, writers, and creators from around the world, in a Q&A with choreographer Ohad Naharin following the performance of Hora by the Batsheva Dance Company, someone asked the inevitable question – “Why the name?” To which Mr. Naharin, in typical cheeky manner, replied that it doesn’t necessarily reference the traditional Israeli folk dance that first comes to mind. After all, he pointed out, “Hora means ‘hour’ in Spanish.” The name, like the work itself, is supposed to challenge your automatic associations.

Fine. But come on, when you’re the main Israeli dance company, performing in Israel, and you call something “Hora,” you know exactly what people will default to. And when you give them the complete opposite of expectations created by the mind, the experience can be a disorienting one. Not necessarily a bad thing.

Naharin does wink at the traditional folk dance implied in the title, a main ingredient of Jewish weddings and B’nei Mitzvot. Following a dramatic opening image of the eleven dancers sitting on a long bench, illuminated in bright green (both floor and three surrounding walls are painted in a rich foliage tone), they stand and walk slowly forward, reach the lip of the stage, and do a gentle pas de bouree, which also looks like a half “grapevine” step, which is a staple of Rikudei Am (Hebrew for “Dance of the People” or folk dance). So within the first minute or so, he checks the box, gives you want you came for, and then proceeds for the next hour to smash it and whip it and break it down until it – or you – cries for mercy.

One should be wary about assigning any one idea or meaning to any piece that Naharin creates. They are far too abstract and atmospheric to extract something like a theme or specific commentary. But in Hora, both in title and in the use of some of the world’s most recognizable music (Strauss’ overture best known from “2001: A Space Odyssey” and Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries”) he explicitly employs popular elements – can we call them clichés? – with the express purpose of forcing you to overcome your previous knowledge and associations by re-contextualizing them and stripping them of their grand, universal meanings.

To which he’s only partially successful. Second time around, I still can’t overcome the gnawing familiarity of the music. This may indeed be the point – that cultural reference points once firmly engrained and globally accepted are impossible to purge – but that understanding doesn’t really serve his work. It’s a realization that’s removed from the choreography rather than a revelation that comes from it.

Thankfully, that idea doesn’t dominate the entire work. In the last ten minutes or so, the lights on stage dip to about 30% intensity and the dancers revisit some of the initial phrases and imagery. Yet what once felt bold and rebellious in broad light now feels a bit sad and timid when draped in shadow.

Naharin has never seemed to hold tradition in high esteem – which is why his company is always so unexpected – but when Hora begins illuminated and ends under a cloud with a single dancer walking forward slowly but steadily while the rest look on, distant and indifferent, it does seem to mourn the loss of something intangible, something that at one point might have held people together, something that once was but is no longer and that without it, we are forced to make sense of this world alone.

Learning to Count to THREE

Three by Ohad Naharin.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

They’re staring at me again. Those Batsheva dancers. Always staring. Just standing there and glaring at me. Or begging me. Like they’re accusing me of something. Or inviting me to join them. Or just completely indifferent and waiting for me to decide.

Despite the colorful, casual costumes that gives Shalosh (Hebrew for “Three”) a kind of United Colors of Benetton aesthetic, it’s a work that feels deceptively bright, a rainbow on stage that is merely meant to distract you from the murkiness that lies within and rumbles just below the surface.

Like it’s choreographic cousins, MAX and Hora, Shalosh juxtaposes spastic, explosive segments of individual ecstasy (or meltdown?) with periods of eerie calm and mechanic unison. As always, the sudden shifts between these worlds creates the tension between the extremes that defines the recent works of Ohad Naharin.

This particularly manifests itself in Shalosh in the second, middle section (the work earns its title from the three chapters, Bellus, Humus, and Secus) in which the company’s women move as a single organism; slithering across the stage, reclining suggestively on the floor, puncturing the contemplative air with occasional sharp jolts all effortlessly in sync. It’s a quiet journey, almost pacifying, except those small moments when something volatile and aggressive bubbles to the surface.

In contrast, in the third section, Secus, the company divides into three lines, each facing the audience; the first person in each line presents a nonchalant pose or short movement phrase before stepping to the back of the line to make way for the next. It’s a conveyor belt of revealing, unexpected gestural offerings, one after the other, at the same time both industrial production and also the rebellion against it.

And unlike Humus which fused the women into a single breathing form that the mind can easily comprehend, Secus demands that the eyes scan and the head whips to try to hear these three competing conversations that are alternately jarring, provocative, quiet, and desperate. Yet as soon as you are captivated by one image or dancer, you’ve already missed something else. By trying to listen in on all of them, you soon understand that you actually hear nothing. Quite the challenge for a society that thinks it’s mastered the art of multi-tasking.

Shalosh is a work that lays its guts on the table and shows you its insides and then winks at you with a smirk. It makes you feel naked, stripped of whatever guard you’ve brought to the theater, whatever protective gear you shroud yourself in on a daily basis. Because regardless of how thick and impenetrable we think our skin is, it cannot withstand the honesty of those stares. Begging, accusing, inviting, or just waiting for you to decide.

Through a Child’s Eyes

Kamuyot by Ohad Naharin.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Of all the places one would least likely expect to see a four-year-old, I imagine a performance of the Batsheva Dance Company would be somewhat high on the list. After all, the company is known for its rather harsh and aggressive physicality, it’s overt and unromantic sexuality, and extreme abstraction of movement. Yet Varda Studio on Saturday morning was filled with young families and a gaggle of tykes sitting patiently on all four sides of the performance space, some bouncing on their parent’s lap, others leaning against older brothers and sisters along for the ride.

Kamuyot is one of Naharin’s creations for the Batsheva Ensemble (the second company consisting of mostly younger dancers, all technically excellent) that borrows some ideas and phrases from that other intimate Batsheva work performed in a studio surrounded by the audience, Mamootot. But whereas the latter dance features a cast in identical, flesh-colored costumes with a nude solo in the middle, Kamuyot features bright Catholic schoolboy/girl-meets-retro-punk outfits and, well, no nude solo. That would be entirely inappropriate.

But the refreshing thing is how little the two differ from each other conceptually. Both challenge the traditional proscenium presentation of dance by bringing the audience into the game. Spaces are reserved throughout the audience for the dancers to sit during the work, blending the line between spectator and performer. The proximity of the dancers to the audience is utilized and exploited in moments such as when the dancers walk slowly around the perimeter, catching the gaze of audience members, pausing to hold hands and share a moment.

Some adults who attended Mamootot when I saw it found those moments uncomfortable. The children in Kamuyot seemed to find them thrilling. The sense of involvement and participation allowed the children, most quite young, to remain remarkably engaged and attentive for the hour-long work and didn’t invade on any sense of personal space that we adults so carefully cultivate as we age. Perhaps most striking, the children seemed to simply accept everything that was happening before their eyes and just enjoy the pure physical pictures being played out in front of them.

On Wednesday, when attending a performance of Batsheva’s Three, several of my companions remarked following the show that they just “didn’t get it.” It’s a comment that didn’t even cross the mind of the little ones sitting wide-eyed in the studio on Saturday. “What an uninteresting observation!” the kids would likely respond. What is there to get? It’s about letting go and allowing yourself to be taken on a journey, to simply respond to whatever unexpected image or idea pops up.

In the United States, we don’t trust children’s ability to make sense of abstract art. We adults project our discomfort with work that doesn’t conform to a certain style or traditional notion of beauty and assume that children will share our apprehension. Consider that your children, or as a child yourself, likely attended special matinees of the Nutcracker, or heard Bach at the symphony or toured a Monet exhibition at a fine art museum but likely didn’t have much exposure to, say, Merce Cunningham or John Cage or Mark Rothko. We decide that children won’t be able to make sense of these avant-garde artists. But maybe it’s us that are holding them back.

As adults, we bring expectations into every situation – whether a job, a relationship, or a dance performance. We demand that events unfold in an orderly fashion, that everything connects to something else, that in the end we are given a clear message so we can put it in a box, assign a label, and then evaluate accordingly. But perhaps there is something to learn from a child who accepts what is offered with generous curiosity. Perhaps that acceptance allows for even greater insight and enjoyment. And perhaps that is something we can learn to bring into other aspects of our lives as well.

About the Guest Author

Brian Schaefer is a writer and arts administrator from California where he was the dance critic for the San Diego News Network and the Program Manager for ArtPower! at the University of California, San Diego.  He is a member of the Dance Critics Association, Dance/USA, and a recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Arts Journalism.  He is currently living in Tel Aviv as a 2010-2011 Dorot Fellow and reflects on all things dance at

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Celebrating Dr. Ruth Eshel and Ethiopian Shoulder Dancing in Israel

Posted on 24 January 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Beta Dance Troupe. Photo by Irene Fertik.

She is a pioneer of Israel’s fringe dance, presenting avant-garde solos in the late 1970s when performing in large, established repertory companies was the norm.  She is a leading commentator on Israeli concert dance, contributing scholarly articles and books as well as lively criticism in major newspapers and journals.  And in the last fifteen years, Dr. Ruth Eshel has also filled another key role: that of a visionary, arranging the traditional shoulder dance brought by Ethiopian immigrants into entrancing contemporary compositions for the stage.

It is no wonder that Dr. Eshel was captivated by the Ethiopian immigrants’ movement when she set out to document their dance for the Dance Library of Israel.  There is something particularly mesmerizing about the minute isolations of the shoulders that these dancers perform; each articulation itself is clearly cut, but when strung together at high speed, the effect can be likened to that of a hummingbird swiftly beating its wings.  The dancers’ shoulders jump, skip, hop, roll, punch forward and back, and shift side to side.  With this vocabulary, their shoulders talk, sing, cry, and laugh.

Her interest piqued, Dr. Eshel formed a student company called Eskesta (“shoulder dancing” in Amharic) at the University of Haifa in 1995 and directed the troupe for ten years, leading it on tours to great acclaim.  In 2005, she founded Beta Dance Troupe in the Neve Yosef community center in Haifa, again building a distinctive repertory blending traditional shoulder dancing with a contemporary choreographic framework.  This company has also won accolades at home and abroad for its spirited performances.

Now, on January 26, a celebration of Dr. Eshel’s work with both the Eskesta and Beta troupes will be held in Tel Aviv at the Inbal Ethnic Arts Center.  After gathering at 8:00 p.m., a panel will convene at 8:30 to share memories.  Beta Dance Troupe will take the stage at 9:00 for a short performance, followed by a screening of the film Shoulder Dancing, which includes footage of the companies’ rehearsals and performances.  The evening will close with an invitation for everyone to dance.

Poster for the film Shoulder Dancing. Courtesy Ruth Eshel.

For those of you who cannot partake in the live celebration – or are curious about shoulder dancing – below is a clip of Beta Dance Troupe in Dr. Eshel’s aptly named Celebration (2007).

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Contemporary Israeli Dance Week: Gala in New York

Posted on 22 January 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Quiet by Arkadi Zaides. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Heads up, New Yorkers!  In June, a wave of contemporary dance from Israel is coming your way as part of the annual La MaMa Moves Festival.  The city is already home to an astonishing number of Israeli-born choreographers, and La MaMa’s celebration will include five of these New York-based artists and groups: Deganit Shemy, LeeSaar The Company, Netta Yerushalmy, YelleB Dance Ensemble, and Neta Pulvermacher.  But the Contemporary Israeli Dance Week mini-festival is also scheduled to feature a stellar line-up straight from Israel.  Yasmeen Godder, Arkadi Zaides, Idan Cohen, Maya Brinner, and the team of Tamar Borer and Tamara Erde will offer a glimpse of the latest in Israeli-made productions, and master classes will give New York dancers a taste of what’s happening in local studios.

On Monday, January 31, a gala evening featuring Deganit Shemy, LeeSaar The Company, Netta Yerushalmy, and YelleB Dance Ensemble will be held at La MaMa E.T.C. (Experimental Club). The gala is a fundraiser for the Contemporary Israeli Dance Week, and more information about tickets can be found at the festival’s website.  For those of you who can’t make it to the gala, here’s a sneak peak at the festival with clips of works by Godder, Zaides, Cohen, Brinner,and Borer and Erde.

Video: Preview of Contemporary Israeli Dance Week

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