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Intimadance 2009: Ugly Dance at Tmuna Theater

Posted on 05 July 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Ariel Cohen's "Venus de Meatloaf"

Photo: Ariel Cohen’s Venus de Meatloaf.  Photo by Nir Arieli.

I grew up in the ballet world, where “dance” and “beauty” went hand in hand.  Ugliness was a foreign concept, perhaps invoked only in the portrayal of a story ballet’s villain.

So it was a challenge for me to wrap my mind around the theme of this year’s Intimadance festival: ugliness.  How would dances that explore ugliness look?

With this question in mind, I spent part of this weekend in Tel Aviv’s Tmuna Theater.  The works were diverse, but I couldn’t help noticing that a few of the dances invoked a ballet vocabulary and aesthetic at times, perhaps as a reference to conventional standards of beauty within this art form.

To learn more about Intimadance and the choreographers’ investigation of ugliness, check out my preview below, “Ugly Dance,” which was first published in the Jerusalem Post.  The festival continues tonight with two performances.

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Ugly Dance

Chances are, when you think about dance, the word “ugly” doesn’t come to mind.  But for the Intimadance festival at Tel Aviv’s Tmuna Theater, choreographers were specifically asked to explore the concept of ugliness.

“This year the choice was to ask the question [about ugliness] in a discipline that is based on beauty – beauty of the body, beauty of the movement,” says Nava Zuckeman, co-artistic director of the festival.

Examining ugliness in an art form typically concerned with beauty may be an intimidating challenge, but Intimadance provides a safe platform for choreographers to tackle this task without pressure to succeed or meet a particular ideal.  Ariel Efraim-Ashbel, who has co-directed the festival since last year, explains that the agenda is to try and search rather than to win.  “We’re in a theater, not a war – we’re not trying to conquer anything,” he notes.

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