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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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Surveying Dance Technique in Israel: A Report from the Studios

Posted on 22 November 2008 by Deborah Friedes Galili

(A studio at Adama in Mizpe Ramon)

Right now I am spending my time in Hebrew ulpan rather than the dance studio, but last year I happily spent my first few months traipsing from studio to studio.  I was fortunate enough to return regularly to several teachers while funded by my Fulbright grant, including some of those mentioned in “Surveying Dance Training in Israel: A Report from the Studios.”  Over the course of the year, my impressions of technique styles and influences developed not only through my continued attendance but through conversations with my teachers.  You will get to hear from some of these artists themselves in my podcasts and in write-ups of interviews, but for now, you can read my first impressions as a newcomer to Israeli studios.

I first wrote this post on November 6, 2007 for my own blog.

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Besides attending concerts and meeting dance scholars, I am busy investigating technique classes in Tel Aviv.  I am attempting to do my initial survey in a relatively methodical manner, working my way slowly from studio to studio and taking classes labeled modern (מודרני – “moderni”), contemporary (עכשווי – “achshavi”), or release (רליס – “release”) before plunging into the world of Gaga, a technique developed by Ohad Naharin, or indulging myself with a ballet class.

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