Archive | Interviews (Podcasts)

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Noa Dar Discusses Her Dance Career (Podcast)

Posted on 02 September 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Download the podcast (You can right-click the link and press “save as” to download the file to your computer.)

Noa Dar in "Arnica"

Noa Dar in Arnica.  Photo by Tamar Lam.

(This podcast was initially produced for Israel Seen in 2008, and the text is amended from my writing on The Winger.  You can subscribe to this podcast using the iTunes software by clicking this link to the podcast feed.)

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I had spent many evenings during my Fulbright year taking contemporary dance classes with Shlomit Fundaminsky and Inbal Aloni at Noa Dar’s studio in Tel Aviv, but when I entered the building one night for a performance of Noa’s Tetris, it was as if I had walked into another world. When I viewed Arnica a month later in the more traditional environment of Tel Aviv’s Tmuna Theater, I not only saw Noa’s range as a choreographer but was struck by her powerful presence as a performer.  After screening more of her work on DVD, I knew I had to meet the woman whose name graced the space where I so frequently took class!

We set up a meeting, and at long last I met Noa in her studio for a stimulating conversation.  During our interview, Noa reflected on the development of her movement vocabulary, the evolution of her repertory, her choreographic process, and the relationship of her work to her upbringing on a kibbutz and to the larger Israeli society.  It was a really rich discussion that, for me, further illuminated her well-crafted choreography while shedding even more light on the surrounding contexts of Israeli dance and Israeli culture.   I hope it will open your eyes as well!

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Noa Dar is currently on tour with Arnica and Tetris in Frankfurt and Münster, Germany, through September 9th.  For video clips and photos of these works and more, please see below.

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Shlomit Fundaminsky: An Interview on Improvisation and Israeli Life (Podcast)

Posted on 26 July 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Download the podcast (You can right-click the link and press “save as” to download the file to your computer.)


Shlomit Fundaminsky in Inner Pocket. Photo by Eyal Landsman.

(This podcast was initially produced for Israel Seen in 2008, and the text is amended from my writing on The Winger.  You can subscribe to this podcast using the iTunes software by clicking this link to the podcast feed.  You can also subscribe for free at the iTunes store.)

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Whether she is performing a solo she choreographed, improvising with the Oktet, or teaching a contemporary dance class, Shlomit Fundaminsky is someone to watch.  She has drawn my eyes in all of these settings.  Onstage she fully embodies the clever characters she creates, and in the studio, she passes on her passion for movement to her many students (full disclosure – I am one of them!).

I have had the pleasure of talking with Shlomit on many occasions since first arriving in Israel, and we finally sat down to record an engaging conversation in June 2008.  Join us as we discuss her career, the connection between improvisation and life, the realities of being a dancer in Israel, and how life in Israel affects the dance that is made here.

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Sahar Azimi Speaks about Choreography and Contemporary Dance (Podcast)

Posted on 13 April 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Download the podcast (You can right-click the link and press “save as” to download the file to your computer.)

Sahar Azimi in "Bo Targish"

(Sahar Azimi in Come Feel.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.)

(This podcast was initially produced for Israel Seen, and the text is amended from my writing there.  You can subscribe to this podcast using the iTunes software by clicking this link to the podcast feed.)

In a festival with more than fifteen concerts – each of which features multiple works – dances are bound to blend into one another.  But when a work stands out in this context, you know it’s the real deal.  That’s what happened again and again with Sahar Azimi’s choreography at Machol Bamidbar (Dance in the Desert) in June 2008.  From the first duet I saw to the gasp-inducing solo for a woman from Bo Targish (Come Feel), and then to the poetic group piece Ze, Sahar’s artistic voice captured my attention and remained in my mind long after the festival was over.

Join us as we talk about Sahar’s early career as a dancer with some of Israel’s most famed companies, his more recent choreography, and the larger field of Israeli contemporary dance.

See below for more photographs from Bo Targish (Come Feel).

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Renana Raz: Choreographing Israeli Culture and Beyond (Podcast)

Posted on 26 February 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Download the podcast (You can right-click the link and press “save as” to download the file to your computer.)

Renana Raz in We Have Been Called to Go. Photo by Eyal Landesman.

(This podcast was initially produced for Israel Seen in 2008, and the text is amended from my writing on The Winger.  You can subscribe to this podcast using the iTunes software by clicking this link to the podcast feed.  You can also subscribe for free at the iTunes store.)

Renana Raz is a relatively young choreographer, but she has already developed a unique artistic voice and an impressive body of work.  Prior to interviewing her, I viewed a DVD of her repertory and attended a high-energy performance of Kazuaria, which was inspired by and incorporated elements from the Druze debka dance.  After our conversation, I couldn’t wait to see We Have Been Called to Go, which like Kazuaria weaves folk dance – in this case, Israeli folk dance – into a decidedly contemporary concert dance framework.  When I finally saw this work, I stayed up much of the night writing in my blog about it.  For now I’ll keep you in suspense, but I’ll republish this post soon on Dance In Israel.

Before arriving in Israel, I wondered if choreographers were dealing with specifically Israeli subject matter in their work.  The short answer (and there is a long one!) is that the vast majority of Israeli contemporary dance presented over the last season has not featured explicitly Israeli characters, situations, or symbols.  Renana’s We Have Been Called to Go and Kazuaria are some of the only works I have viewed which place the Israeli context center stage.

I’m happy to say that these works captured my attention not only because of this distinction but also because of their fine craft and compelling performance.  Renana’s repertory stretches beyond the Israeli context even when she is expressly exploring it, and we talk about this in our conversation.  But – just as I gained some insight into Israeli society by watching Kazuaria and We Have Been Called to Go – you’ll get to learn a bit about Israeli culture by listening to her talk about these dances.

To see excerpts of Kazuaria and more photos, check out the rest of the post below.

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Interview with Yair Vardi: A View of Israeli Concert Dance from the Top (Podcast)

Posted on 17 January 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Download the podcast (You can right-click the link and press “save as” to download the file to your computer.)

Yair Vardi
Yair Vardi. Photo by Gadi Dagon, courtesy of Yair Vardi.

(This podcast was initially produced for Israel Seen, and the text is amended from my writing there, The Winger, and my own blog.  You can subscribe to this podcast using the iTunes software by clicking this link to the podcast feed.)

If you want to know about the history and programming of the Suzanne Dellal Center, the curriculum in Israel’s premiere undergraduate dance program, and how Israeli contemporary dance compares to American and European contemporary dance, a conversation with Yair Vardi is the perfect place to start.

After a notable career as a dancer, Yair Vardi became the director of Tel Aviv’s Suzanne Dellal Center, a gorgeous Lincoln Center-type complex with studios and theaters primarily used for dance.  He also serves as the director of dance at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, one of the few institutions of higher learning in Israel that grants degrees in dance.

Though these jobs and other advisory positions keep Yair very busy, he found some time to chat with me about Israel’s vibrant dance scene in February 2008.  We talked about the blossoming of dance in Israel over the last several years, the character of Israeli contemporary dance, the annual International Exposure festival at Suzanne Dellal, and much more.

You can hear my interview with Yair Vardi by using the player above or by subscribing to the podcast and downloading it to iTunes.

Finally, if you’re curious about the scope of Israeli contemporary dance, make sure to check Dance In Israel daily from January 20-25 for coverage of the International Exposure festival, held at the Suzanne Dellal Center.

See below for more pictures and links!

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