Tag Archive | "choreography"

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Renana Raz: Choreographing Israeli Culture and Beyond (Podcast)

Posted on 26 February 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Download the podcast (You can right-click the link and press “save as” to download the file to your computer.)

Renana Raz in We Have Been Called to Go. Photo by Eyal Landesman.

(This podcast was initially produced for Israel Seen in 2008, and the text is amended from my writing on The Winger.  You can subscribe to this podcast using the iTunes software by clicking this link to the podcast feed.  You can also subscribe for free at the iTunes store.)

Renana Raz is a relatively young choreographer, but she has already developed a unique artistic voice and an impressive body of work.  Prior to interviewing her, I viewed a DVD of her repertory and attended a high-energy performance of Kazuaria, which was inspired by and incorporated elements from the Druze debka dance.  After our conversation, I couldn’t wait to see We Have Been Called to Go, which like Kazuaria weaves folk dance – in this case, Israeli folk dance – into a decidedly contemporary concert dance framework.  When I finally saw this work, I stayed up much of the night writing in my blog about it.  For now I’ll keep you in suspense, but I’ll republish this post soon on Dance In Israel.

Before arriving in Israel, I wondered if choreographers were dealing with specifically Israeli subject matter in their work.  The short answer (and there is a long one!) is that the vast majority of Israeli contemporary dance presented over the last season has not featured explicitly Israeli characters, situations, or symbols.  Renana’s We Have Been Called to Go and Kazuaria are some of the only works I have viewed which place the Israeli context center stage.

I’m happy to say that these works captured my attention not only because of this distinction but also because of their fine craft and compelling performance.  Renana’s repertory stretches beyond the Israeli context even when she is expressly exploring it, and we talk about this in our conversation.  But – just as I gained some insight into Israeli society by watching Kazuaria and We Have Been Called to Go – you’ll get to learn a bit about Israeli culture by listening to her talk about these dances.

To see excerpts of Kazuaria and more photos, check out the rest of the post below.

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“MAX” – Connecting to Ohad Naharin’s Choreography

Posted on 20 February 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

(Video: A trailer for BAM’s presentation of Batsheva Dance Company in Ohad Naharin’s MAX)

This is an excerpt from “Two Views of Batsheva: Ohad Naharin’s Furo and MAX,” which was published on The Winger on May 17, 2008.  The Batsheva Dance Company will perform MAX in Santa Barbara (Feb. 24), San Diego (Feb. 26), Los Angeles (Feb. 28 – Mar. 1), and Brooklyn, NY (Mar. 4-7).

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During the brief blackouts in Ohad Naharin’s MAX, I quickly tore my eyes away from the stage to steal glances at my friend Nitzan.  Each time I caught variations of the same expression on his face: eyes wide with amazement and mouth stretched into an even wider grin.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit of a “dance dork” (a few of my friends and I threw around this term frequently during graduate school). With my penchant for dance history and analysis, I’m probably not the typical audience member.  Give me a brilliantly-crafted piece and I will fall in love, counting the ways in which the choreography captures my attention and my affection.

Love at first sight is possible in the arena of dance, but sometimes even the most excellent work takes a bit of time to win over my heart fully.  Such was the case with Ohad Naharin’s MAX.  I first saw MAX in December, and due to fatigue, I didn’t take in the dance with the freshest eyes.  When I re-read my files before this second viewing, I saw that I had taken only a few hasty notes which focused on extremely satisfying sections marked by fine compositional structure.  But after tonight’s performance of MAX, I’m in love. At least in my eyes, the work as a whole is indeed brilliant.

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Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor: An Interview with Dramatic Dancemakers (Podcast)

Posted on 09 December 2008 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Download the podcast (You can right-click the link and press “save as” to download the file to your computer.)

(Oren Laor and Noga Golan in the “Interlude” from Duets; photo by Gadi Dagon)

(This podcast was initially produced for Israel Seen, and the text is amended from my writing there and on The Winger.  You can subscribe to this podcast using the iTunes software by clicking on “Podcasts (RSS)” at the top of this website or following this link to the podcast feed.)

Among the many choreographers premiering work at this year’s Curtain Up Festival are Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor.  With Niv’s background in dance and Oren’s training in theater – and with the special synergy between them – their work has the power to probe the depths of human relationships and prompt laughter at the lighter moments of life.  In the pair’s Curtain Up 2008 offering, Post-Martha, they tackle Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with their trademark dramatic flair, communicative skill, and choreographic honesty.

I hadn’t been in Israel very long when I first saw Niv and Oren’s Duets last fall, but even after many months and many, many more concerts, this piece remains one of my favorites.  I immediately thought of this collaborative team when I started planning for my podcast, and I was thrilled when Niv and Oren agreed to be my first interview subjects last winter.

Like true Tel Aviv-ians, we met at a cafe for an engaging chat in January 2008.  We discussed Niv’s training in dance and Oren’s background in theater, their collaborative creative process, and their choreographic treatment of relationships and gender issues in Duets and Jorona.

To listen my conversation with Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor, click on the podcast player above or subscribe to the podcast and download it to iTunes.  To see more fantastic photographs and video clips of Niv and Oren’s work, keep reading the post below.  And if you are in Israel, you can attend Curtain Up 2 in Tel Aviv (Saturday, December 13) or in Jerusalem (Thursday, December 18) to catch their Post-Martha!

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