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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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Acco Fringe Theater Festival: Alternative Theater (and Dance)

Posted on 04 October 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili


Video: Some of the entries in this year’s competition, including Ofer Amram’s physical theater work Sanatorium

I took a detour from writing strictly about dance when I accepted an assignment to cover the Acco Fringe Theater Festival for the Jerusalem Post.  Though I’ve never been to this event, I’ve heard that it’s one of the most adventurous and intriguing festivals in the country – and I was certainly intrigued by how many programs in this theater festival are movement based.

Some shows are billed as dance theater (Yoav Bertel and Avigail Rubin’s A Compensating Experience), physical theater (Ofer Amram’s Sanatorium), or motion theater (the group Makhol).  Others are outright dance works, like the Acco Dance Greenhouse ensemble’s Neuronirvana, which was shown this summer as part of the Maholohet festival at Suzanne Dellal.

The international selections also feature a good dose of movement.  3Some, from Germany, was created by Israeli choreographer and actor Nir De-Wolf with Knut Berger, while The Vengeance Cell is by Japanese butoh artists Taketeru Kudo and Jun Wakabayash.  The Teatro Pavana street theater group from the Netherlands includes stilt-walkers, and the German group Grotest Maru employs physical theater techniques in The Waters of Acco – A Dance on the Shore.

To learn more about this year’s Acco Fringe Theater Festival, read my article below, which was initially published in the Jerusalem Post.

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Alternative Acco

In the midst of the Jewish holiday of Succot, modern-day Israelis added a new celebration.  Just as the ancient Israelites journeyed to Jerusalem for the holiday, hundreds of thousands of hungry culture-goers flock annually to the old city of Acco during Hol Hamoed to witness the latest harvest of alternative theater.  Now in its 30th season, the Acco Fringe Theater Festival is as adventurous as ever with 450 diverse performances challenging typical notions of theater.

Smadar Ya’aron, who is co-directing the festival for the first time with Moni Yosef, explains, “We are looking for pieces of theater which propose another approach, whether it’s visually, or concerning the content or other aspects of the theatrical event . . . What is also important for us is that the theater will be daring . . . To dare to do a step, to dare to say something which is maybe not so popular, to dare to try and explore.”

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