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Photodance Exhibit Celebrates 20 Years of Dance at Suzanne Dellal

Posted on 30 August 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Tamar Lam, Yassmeen Godder 1

Yasmeen Godder’s I’m Mean I Am. Photo by Tamar Lamm.

Suzanne Dellal’s next show boasts quite an impressive roster of choreographers and performers.  It’s not every day that you find these names on the same bill: Ohad Naharin, Sharon Eyal, Rami Be’er, Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak, Ido Tadmor, Yasmeen Godder, Nir Ben Gal & Liat Dror, Emanuel Gat, Noa Wertheim, Rina Schenfeld, Renana Raz, Sahar Azimi, Arkadi Zaides, Idan Cohen, Tamar Borer, Talia Paz, Michael Gatman, Michael Miler, Sally-Anne Friedland, Dana Ruttenberg, Amit Goldenberg & Ya’ara Dolev, Saar Harari, Iris Erez, Silvia Duran, Elina Pechersky, Doron Raz, Luc Jacobs, Ron Amit & Mor Shani, Shani Garfinkel, and Mami Shimizaki.

But while audiences are used to watching these choreographers’ creations onstage, this show transports their dances to a new territory: the walls.  The show is Photodance, an exhibit of photography celebrating the many productions presented during the Suzanne Dellal Center’s twenty-year history.

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A Closer Look at Liat Dror and Nir Ben-Gal’s Adama

Posted on 14 June 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Video: An excerpt from Airfield, Liat Dror and Nir Ben-Gal’s latest creation

Nir Ben-Gal and Liat Dror first burst onto the stage with Two Room Apartment in 1987, and they continued to create a stir with their choreography throughout the 1990s.  But when I got to Tel Aviv last year, the couple was nowhere to be found.

It’s not that Nir and Liat disappeared from the country’s dance scene.  They just carved out a non-traditional space for themselves in Mizpe Ramon, a small desert town a few hours southeast from Tel Aviv.  There, in a place they call Adama (“earth”), they live, teach, and create.

Occasionally the pair still brings their company to Tel Aviv for performances.  After months of hearing a bit about Nir and Liat, I finally got to see their Prince Charming in November 2007 at Tmuna Theater.  But to find out more about Adama, I decided to venture into the desert for a visit in January 2008.  And then again in April 2008.  And, well, again in June 2008.

I first wrote the article below for The Winger after my second stay at Adama.

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The Batsheva Ensemble on Tour at Home and Abroad

Posted on 09 June 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Video: The Batsheva Ensemble in Ohad Naharin’s Seder.

Last year I had the privilege and the pleasure of accompanying the Batsheva Ensemble on a trip to the town of Kiryat Shmona for two school shows of Ohad Naharin’s Seder.   My photo journal and account of the day – originally titled “A Day in the Life: The Batsheva Ensemble in Kiryat Shmona” – was initially published on The Winger on May 18, 2008.  I’m re-posting it here so that you can get a behind-the-scenes peak into the company’s workings.

But before you read about the company’s activities last year, here’s some fresh news: the Batsheva Ensemble will be touring this month to Rwanda.  They’ll be performing and doing workshops with children – and, to give something a little more tangible, they plan to donate sneakers.

Help the Batsheva Ensemble Help Teenagers in Rwanda

If you’re in Israel, you can help by donating sneakers (used but in good condition), sizes 37-45.  The sneakers will go to teenaged orphans whose parents died in the genocide.  Visit the Facebook page for this event to learn more, and drop off your old sneakers now through June 16th at Batsheva’s offices in the Suzanne Dellal Center.

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Now read on to learn more about the Batsheva Ensemble!

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Dance in the Desert: Shavuot at Adama

Posted on 22 May 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Photo: At Adama’s Shavuot festival in 2008, dancers gathered around for an aerial dance workshop.

While some dancers and movers will gather at Vertigo Dance Company’s Eco-Art Village for the Hagiga festival during Shavuot, others will journey into the Negev desert for a different event: Adama’s Hagiga Levana (White Festival or White Celebration).

Adama is a unique dance center run by choreographers Nir Ben-Gal and Liat Dror (more on them and the center soon, I promise!).  Last year, their Shavuot festival was called Dance in the Desert and was a collaboration with the Amuta or Choreographers Society.  I attended the festival and made a photo journal called “Dance in the Desert” for The Winger; you can check it out below.

This year’s Hagiga Levana will be a smaller and more intimate festival than Dance in the Desert, but it should be no less warm and celebratory.  Attendees can participate in workshops as well as find time for themselves to reflect in the peace of the desert.  They’ll also enjoy a performance of the Adama company’s latest work.  You can visit Adama’s website for more information on this Shavuot event, which will run from May 28-30.

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Behind the Scenes at Gvanim: Shades of Dance Festival

Posted on 17 March 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Michael Miler's "Speed of Light"

Michael Miler’s The Speed of Light will be performed in program 1 of Shades of Dance.  Photograph by Eyal Landesman.

Last Saturday night was chilly and wet, but despite the discouraging weather conditions, I bundled up and trekked down to the Suzanne Dellal Center.  Choreographer Micheal Miler of Haifa’s Sigma Ensemble had invited me to a rehearsal for the Shades of Dance festival (called Gvanim in Hebrew).  Shades of Dance is mounted biennially, and since last year was an off year, I had effectively been waiting to attend the festival for over a year and a half.  A little rain wasn’t about to stop me from this special sneak peak.

Since its inception in 1984, Shades of Dance has showcased artists who are relatively fresh to the field of choreography.  It has helped launch the careers of some of Israel’s best-known choreographers including Yasmeen Godder, Inbal Pinto, Emanuel Gat, Ronit Ziv, Barak Marshall,  Renana Raz, Shlomi Bitton, Anat Danieli, Itzhik Galili, Sally-Anne Friedland, Yossi Yungman, Tamar Borer, Liat Dror and Nir Ben-Gal of Adama, Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha’al of Vertigo Dance Company, and Yoram Karmi of Fresco Dance Group.

Perhaps this is why my anticipation of this festival feels different: I can’t help but wonder what new choreographic voices will be revealed this year.  A mind-boggling 80 dances were submitted to the festival’s selection committee, composed of artistic director Hanoch Ben Dror with Ya’ara Dolev, Sally-Anne Friedland, Renana Raz, and Niv Sheinfeld.   I’m looking forward to seeing what sets the 10 chosen works apart from their competition when the 15th Shades of Dance festival opens this week.

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