Tag Archive | "Beit Tami"

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Testing Tools 2012 at the Shenkin Garden and Beit Tami, August 7-9

Posted on 15 August 2012 by Deborah Friedes Galili

This is a guest post by Meredith Nadler.

“Testing Tools – Festival of Art in the Making,” an experimental arts festival in its ninth edition this year, offered audiences an intimate view of both visual and performing arts from a wide array of genres, styles and mediums. The festival, which featured over 20 theater and dance pieces and over 40 works of visual art, utilized every possible space – including playground, bathrooms and even elevator.  Although impressed by the sheer volume of activity, after understanding that the festival provided no remuneration to the over 100 participating artists, I was hesitant to set my expectations too high concerning the professionalism of the work programmed. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality and innovation of many of the pieces I saw.

Untitled Mural by Yael Balaban and Hadas Reshef. Photo by Yuri Divinsky.

Gil Alon, artist director of the festival, explained, “We wanted to focus on the artists’ creative process. Works that were curated tend not to be finished pieces, but rather works in progress which have been substantially developed and are presented here in their later stages of creation.”  Curator Carmit Blumensohn selected works that often took the form of a veritable laboratory, evident in the site specific installation Metabolism by Nivi Alroy and Hila Amran. Or whose actual content clearly evoked genesis and transformation, such as with artist Uri Shapira, who used stop motion and time lapse techniques to create ever-changing landscapes akin to cellular regeneration. Then there was the real life action-painting that took shape over the course of the festival outside at the entrance of the Shenkin Garden by Yael Balaban and Hadas Reshef. Juxtaposing their divergent styles – the former subdued, meditative and precise, the other, a riot of color and cartoon-like proportions – the crowds could watch their mural unfold before their eyes as the two artists worked throughout the festival’s three days non-stop, pausing only for artistic contributions of kids armed with markers and by Tel Aviv’s Mayor himself.

Carrying Him Circling Her. Duet by Sharon Attinson and Ofer Bymel. Photo by Yuri Divinsky.

Carrying Him Circling Her. Duet by Avigail Sfez and Elad Bardes. Photo by Yuri Divinsky.

Dance pieces highlighting the mercurial relationship between dancer and musician, such as the pair of duets, Carrying Him Circling Her, by Sharon Attiinson and Ofer Bymel, and Avigail Sfez and Elad Bardes, laid bare for the audience the constant but ever shifting relationship between the two mediums, music and dance. Their live improvisations underscored the interplay of temperaments and competing desires between artists at play and work, with the latter duet putting in stark relief the co-dependence inherent in two artists who are often at odds with each other, struggling to voice each own’s creativity.

Silence by Orian Michaeli and Adi Shaul. Photo by Anat Merav.

Silence by Orian Michaeli and Adi Shaul, another duet between dancer and musician, relied on the interchanging social dynamics of formal and informal relationships. Adi Shaul’s experimental and quirky live musical mix and dancer Orian Michaeli’s sense of comic vulgarity and deadpan humor made for one of the funniest pieces of the festival. And yet another duo, the performance Clarity by Eden Wiseman and Ovi Dvir, relied heavily on one another to build a palpable tension between themselves and the unforgiving element of glass being crushed and shattered. Impermanence and vivid acts of destruction punctuated this short piece with violence and a raw sexuality.

Clarity by Eden Wiseman and Ovi Dvir. Photo by Liron Narunsky.

Finally the festival’s dance offer was tempered and brought full circle by the piece BE-3, inspired by Tai Chi and choreographed by Michal Huber-Rotschild with dancers/creators Mirit Bergman, Dana Hamburger, Tal Haran and vocals by Tal Haran. It explored the delicate underpinning between three generations of women. Slow movements and well crafted choreography highlighted the eternal constellation between the three women symbolizing daughter, mother and grandmother. Their tenderness and the sincerity of their unveiled compassion for and vulnerability to each other made for an unsettling reminder of how rare these qualities are revealed in the egoism and cynicism of today’s world and contemporary art in general.

BE-3 by Michal Huber-Rotschild. Photo by Danny Berman.

Moving on to the theater works presented at this festival, the motif of the subtly and finespun power present in the relationship between women, Tova Birnnbuam’s and Rachel Gets Salomons’ That Which Is Not One metamorphosed in the two women spinning both wool and tales in several languages. A distinct counterpoint of strength and restraint between the two women and the actual wool that spread out in all directions interconnecting them with the space, gave the piece a genuine feeling of antiquity and Jewish continuity. This coupled with the absurdity and playfulness of the piece’s storytelling, mixing modern day and biblical references, made for a delightful performance.

That Which Is Not One by Tova Birnbaum and Rachel Gets Salomon. Photo by Yuri Divinsky.

The play Contemporary Heart by director Avraham Simhi, who built by hand the circus-like stage set of impressive scale in the garden of Beit Tami, employed a large cast which herded and cajoled the audience, both physically and in chorus, into being avid spectators of a duel between good and evil.  A severe, social satire on modern day materialism replete with a moral heroine, the comedic interruptions of a singular colorful incantation of the Furies, Greek goddesses of retribution, and the final and complete dissolution of the play’s fourth wall. It held the audience captive in a fast and furious play staged and performed with great skill in the grand tradition of Brechtian Epic Theater.

Contemporary Heart by Dir. Avraham Simhi. Photo by Yuri Divinsky.

Meredith Nadler is a Berlin based writer, critic, artist and choreographer. For more about her work, see YouTube videos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6I_4QBNd0I and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyFRyfpGbY8.

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A Peek into Nimrod Freed’s Choreography

Posted on 06 June 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Video: Nimrod Freed’s Peep Dance

This article was initially published as “Close Encounters Series: Nimrod Freed” on The Winger in 2008, prior to a performance of his Peep Dance at Central Park SummerStage in New York.

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Nimrod Freed. Photo by Eyal Landesman.

Close Encounters Series: Nimrod Freed

My initial encounter with Nimrod Freed was in autumn 2007 via e-mail.  I first contacted him because he was on the faculty of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, my host institution here in Israel during my Fulbright grant.  We met, though, at a different college with a focus on teacher training: Seminar HaKibbutzim in northern Tel Aviv.

Not only does Nimrod teach at both of these institutions, but he also is the artistic director at Tel Aviv’s Beit Tami, a spectacularly located community center that is equipped with a few studios and a small performance space popular with independent choreographers.  There he runs the Tami Dance Company, which currently brings together one actor with several dancers in dance theater works.

As I learned about all of Nimrod’s roles during that first meeting at Seminar HaKibbutzim, I realized – in the very best way – that I had got more than I bargained for!  Speaking with him gave me a much clearer sense of the institutional map of Israeli contemporary dance.

Nimrod Freed’s Peep Dance. Photo by Anatoly Michaelo.

I also learned about Nimrod’s own career, from his beginnings in folk dance to his intensive study of concert dance, which was sparked by his involvement in an opera production of Samson and Delilah at age 16.  His interest in dance theater developed after seeing Pina Bausch’s Café Müller , and subsequently, he studied acting and directing at Tel Aviv University.  A class there with guest teacher Kei Takei proved to be a major turning point; indeed, soon afterwards, he joined her company Moving Earth in New York.

Nimrod stayed in the U.S. for just over a decade, and during this time, he also formed his own dance theater company.  It was an invitation to perform in the Israel Festival which paved the way back to his native country.  Through his teaching of improvisation and pedagogy, his choreography, and his leadership at Beit Tami, he has contributed enormously to the vibrant Israeli contemporary dance scene – but even as he maintains a home base in Tel Aviv, he continues to work internationally. Nimrod’s company has toured to Europe and Japan, where he met Min Tanaka and picked up a butoh influence.

Spectators at Nimrod Freed’s Peep Dance. Photo by Itamar Freed.

In July 2008, Nimrod returned to New York with the Tami Dance Company for a performance of Peep Dance at Central Park SummerStage. Like Israeli crowds, the American audiences clustered around colorful structures and put their eyes up to peepholes to sneak a peek at the dancers inside.

Nimrod Freed’s Subtext. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Nimrod’s latest work, Subtext, was shown as part of Curtain Up 2009 at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv and the Rebecca Crown Auditorium in Jerusalem.

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Curtain Up 1: Nimrod Freed Hosts Anat Grigorio and Dafi Altebab

Posted on 23 November 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili


Nimrod Freed’s Subtext.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Dance In Israel: What is your relationship to Curtain Up?
Nimrod Freed: I was produced in Haramat Masach [Curtain Up] about four times.   At a certain moment I felt that I had to move on, and now it’s a very good way to come for a visit.
DII: On this visit, what drew you to invite both Anat and Dafi to join you in Curtain 1?
NF: I’ve known Anat and Dafi for many years.


Anat Grigorio’s Daydream.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

NF: I met Anat as a dancer; she came to dance in my Tami Dance Company.   I need to work with very creative people, and from that very moment, I saw her creativity.   As a matter of fact, while she was a dancer in my company, I was already producing her as a young creator.

Under the Rug

Dafi Altebab’s Under the Rug. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

NF: I met Dafi when I did the project “On the Edge” in Beit Tami, so I produced her work.  And I think both Anat and Dafi are very authentic and passionate and creative in an unusual way.

DII: Do you see any links between the work that you made for this program and the works that Dafi and Anat made?
NF: There is a common ground which happened by chance.  I didn’t strive for that . . . it happened.  The three of us are dealing with the hidden sides of life.

Under the Rug

Dafi Altebab’s Under the Rug. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

NF: Dafi is trying to reveal, to open up stuff that she pushed under the carpet.


Anat Grigorio’s Daydream.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

NF: Anat is dealing with this moment of waking up.  You know, in the morning, when we open up the eyes, trying to wake up; those moments that we don’t know exactly where we are . . . For her, you know, it’s a very intriguing time; many things are happening in this time, and she’s trying to dance it and understand it.  I guess she’s meeting her unconsciousness in those moments.


Nimrod Freed’s Subtext.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

NF: And I’m dealing with subtext.


Nimrod Freed’s Subtext.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

DII: Can you tell me a little bit more about your piece, Subtext?
NF: I am interested more in what is under the words, what is under our life.  I’m more interested in energy, in what people don’t say.  And I’m trying to dance it . . . Whenever we talk subtext, right away there is a new subtext.  And then we reveal it, we discover it, and right away there is a new layer, a new subtext.  When we dance, we find ourselves not dancing, not moving, and still there is a new subtext . . . For me it becomes more and more interesting, the world which is beneath, under, [rather] than the politically correct world.  And I wish we could talk subtext.  Maybe it wouldn’t be very polite, but it looks closer to truth.

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For listings of Curtain Up performances, please visit the Dance In Israel Calendars page.

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