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.