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Maholohet: SummerDance 2010 Heats Up at Suzanne Dellal

Posted on 29 June 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Video: Batsheva Dancers Create

The Batsheva Dance Company’s dancers might have cooled off at the beach to make this video, but this July, they – and many of Israel’s finest dancers – will be heating up the Suzanne Dellal Center’s stages during SummerDance 2010.  The annual festival, called Maholohet in Hebrew (a play on the words for “dance” and “hot”), will take place from July 1-August 31 and boast 84 performances.

Nuevo Ballet Español.  Photo courtesy of Ora Lapidot PR.

This year’s programming kicks off with a festival within the festival.  From July 1-10, Madrid Dance will showcase Spanish dance including the Antonio Najarro Dance Company, Nuevo Ballet Español, Sharon Friedman and Jesus Pastor, and Pastor and José Marino.  More international guests arrive later in the summer with dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet performing their own creations in Incidence Choreographique and with the Black Light Theatre from Prague in Africania.

Video: Rachel Erdos’s OU’ premieres at SummerDance 2010

As in previous years, premieres abound at SummerDance.  This year’s bounty, totaling 19 new works, will include premieres by Dana Ruttenberg, Kamea Dance Company, Tamar Borer and Tamara Erde, Portal Dance Company, DaNaKa Dance Group, Yoni Soutchy, Idan Sharabi, Ronit Ziv, Sigal Ziv, Elina Pechersky, Rena Schenfeld, Dafi Altebab, Mami Shimizaki, Sharon Vazanna, Anat Grigorio, the Jerusalem Ballet, and Rachel Erdos.  Sahar Azimi, Elad Shechter, and Ido Tadmor offer pre-premieres, and Yaniv Cohen’s work will be shown in its Israeli premiere.

Arkadi Zaides’s Quiet.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

For audiences who missed some of this year’s most intriguing premieres, SummerDance offers a second chance to check them out.  Among the offerings are Arkadi Zaides’s Quiet, which recently returned from a tour of Europe, as well as the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Rami Be’er’s Infrared, Fresco Dance Group in Yoram Karmi’s Particle Accelerator, Kamea Dance Group in Tamir Ginz’s SRUL, Kolben Dance Company in Min-Hara, and Animato Dance Company in Nadine Bommer’s American Cinema. Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak’s Rushes Plus and Ohad Naharin’s Kyr/Z/na 2010, both highlights of the last season, combine excerpts of older works in a strikingly new context. And Vertigo Dance Company presents not only its recent hit Mana but also White Noise and the now classic Birth of the Phoenix.

Batsheva Dancers Create.  Photo by Yoav Barel.

Several evenings pop out from the schedule with a mixture of interesting fare.  This year’s festival includes Batsheva Dancers Create, an annual workshop featuring two programs of Batsheva’s dancers in an array of their own choreography.  Another intriguing evening is Noa Dar’s presentation of her recent Anu alongside a work-in-progress, Banu, which is the extension of her previous creation.  And audiences will have a chance to sample a combination of choreographers when established artists host up-and-coming contemporary choreographer.  These programs include Dana Ruttenberg and Shlomit Fundaminsky hosting Neta Ruttenberg and Uri Shafir; Sahar Azimi hosting Elad Shechter and Yaniv Cohen; Dafi Altebab hosting Mami Shimizaki; and Idan Cohen hosting Sharon Vazanna.

Beta Dance Troupe in Meeka Yaari and Ruth Eshel’s Fathers and Sons. Photo by Ofer Zvulun.

SummerDance 2010 also features several companies and choreographers that add an ethnic flavor to the Israeli concert dance scene.  Beta Dance Troupe blends Ethiopian traditions with contemporary choreography in Meeka Yaari and Ruth Eshel’s Fathers and Sons as well as Adam McKinney and Daniel Banks’s What We are Saying. Rona Bar-On, Sigal Ziv, and Elina Pechersky bring belly dance to the stage, while COMPAS, Silvia Duran, and Tania Vinokur offer variations on flamenco.  Adding to the mix is Bangoura, an African dance company that will perform The dance of the drums.

Batsheva Ensemble in Ohad Naharin’s Kamuyot.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Want to attend a dance performance with your family?  Several family-friendly programs are dotting this year’s bill, including the Batsheva Ensemble in Ohad Naharin’s Kamuyot, Kamea Dance Group in Or Abuhav’s The Ugly Duckling, COMPAS in Carmen and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and Noa Dar Dance Group in Children’s Games.

Rounding out the programming are several critically acclaimed works created in recent years, including Yasmeen Godder’s Singular Sensation and Yossi Berg and Oded Graf’s Four Men, Alice, Bach and the Deer, and evenings of work by independent choreographers including Iris Erez, Shlomi Frige, Maya Levy, Michael Miler, and Michal Herman.

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More on Maholohet: A Hot Summer of Dance Continues

Posted on 29 July 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Video: Aviv Eveguy’s Dimona will show at Maholohet on August 4

Yes, I know, I already posted one article about Maholohet (SummerDance).  But some people might need a reminder that there’s still one month left of nearly nightly performances at Suzanne Dellal, and perhaps those of you who are abroad would like to hear a bit more about this Israeli summer tradition.

Although I was lucky enough to see many of the festival’s offerings earlier this season, several of this summer’s works were new (or new to me), and so in July I found myself walking over to Suzanne Dellal a few times a week.  One of the standouts so far was Yoram Karmi and Uri Morag’s Man, Woman, Reflections, with its brilliant use of swinging lamps, illuminating projections, and clever choreography involving innovative sets.  The two-part Under by Matanicola and Yasmeen Godder also delivered a punch with its intense atmosphere and powerful performances.  And just this week, Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak’s Rushes caught my eye with images that were simple, striking, and sustained for just the right amount of time.

Even if you’ve missed these concerts, there’s still plenty to come!  Read on to see what else will heat up the stage this summer – all of the works I’ve mentioned below will be performed during August.

The article below was first published as “Some Summer Spice” in the Jerusalem Post on July 12, 2009.

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Some Summer Spice

Even the numbers of the Suzanne Dellal Center’s SummerDance Festival are impressive: eight weeks of concerts, 76 performances, 11 premieres and one group of special guests from abroad. But what’s behind the statistics – an exceptionally diverse assortment of dance – is even more extraordinary.

SummerDance 2009 (Maholohet, a play on the phrase “hot dance” in Hebrew) has showcased the wealth of Israeli concert dance since its inception 13 years ago.  What started as a three-week festival gradually expanded, and now, with the Suzanne Dellal Center celebrating its 20th anniversary, SummerDance is having its hottest season yet.

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Maholohet: SummerDance2009 at Suzanne Dellal Center

Posted on 12 July 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Video: Yoram Karmi and Uri Morag’s Man, Woman, Reflections will be performed during SummerDance

It seems like every country has its share of summer dance festivals, and Israel is no exception.  The country’s main concert dance festival, SummerDance (Maholohet in Hebrew) is already underway at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv.  My preview of the festival, “Damn Hot,” was first published in the Jerusalem Post.

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Damn Hot

The Suzanne Dellal Center is turning up the heat with its Maholohet (Hot Dance) summer dance festival.  This year’s program boasts a full summer of sizzling performances, showcasing the best of Israeli dance.  From July 1 until August 29, hundreds of dancers will take the stage in 76 concerts.

Part of Maholohet‘s appeal is the appearance of so many preeminent companies.  The Batsheva, Inbal Pinto and Vertigo Dance Companies are each presenting multiple programs of critically acclaimed works.  Many popular smaller groups and up-and-coming independent choreographers are also heating up the program with their creative fires.

Raising the temperature further this summer are 11 hot-off-the-press premieres by choreographers as diverse as Yasmeen Godder, Alice Dor-Cohen, Ronit Ziv, Idan Cohen and Elina Pechersky.  Another much anticipated highlight is a special guest program with dancers from the famed Paris Opera Ballet.

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Home Port Festival: 54 Choreographers in 33 Concerts at the Jaffa Port

Posted on 11 March 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Choreographers Association

The choreographers of the Amuta in Jaffa for the Home Port Festival.  Photo by Dorit Talpaz.

The first hint that something big was happening in Israel’s concert dance scene was an e-mail from Yossi Berg and Oded Graf about their upcoming performance schedule.  One listing mysteriously said that the duo was presenting Heroes at the Jaffa port for a choreographers festival.  Choreographers festival?  In Jaffa?  Many dance festivals here are annual ones, and I didn’t remember anything like that from last year.

Next I started to see some Facebook events popping up, with choreographers including Hillel Kogan, Noa Dar, Shlomit Fundaminsky, and Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor inviting friends to attend performances at the port during March.   My curiosity grew as the number of choreographers involved increased.

Finally, Yasmeen Godder pulled me over before class one day and told me I should look into a very exciting, unprecedented event: the Home Port festival.  As I talked more with her and followed a few leads, I found out that this was, indeed, something big.

The Home Port festival was initiated by the Amuta (which translates as the Choreographers Association or the Choreographers Society), an umbrella organization for fifty-four independent choreographers who draw from styles as varied as contemporary dance, flamenco, and belly dance.  Working outside of the country’s larger companies, these established choreographers are responsible for much of Israel’s flourishing concert dance scene – and all of them will present their creations in thirty-three different concerts over the next four weeks in a hangar at Jaffa’s port.

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Snapshots from International Exposure 2008

Posted on 07 February 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili


Hydra by Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak closed International Exposure.  Photo by Seto Hidemi.

Most visitors to this year’s International Exposure were festival directors, arts presenters, diplomats, or critics.   I, however, came as a researcher.   With this festival – as with my other research activities – I sought to discover, to interpret, to understand.  I searched for old connections and new pathways.

Featuring over 40 works, International Exposure was exactly the right place to look for the threads which tie together this country’s concert dance scene.  The festival is a like a yearbook for Israeli dance.  The offerings by each choreographer serve as the album’s individual portraits.   Mixed bills drawn from some of the country’s other festivals (Curtain Up; Machol Acher/Other Dance Project) hint at the structure of the dance community, just as club pictures reveal a school’s cliques and groups.  And with the 20+ concerts clustered together in a mere six days, it’s possible to see the trends which characterized much this year’s artistic output. (( It should be noted, though, that some choreographers were missing from this year’s International Exposure.  Some well-established artists including Nimrod Freed, Anat Danieli, and Adama’s Nir Ben-Gal and Liat Dror did not present work at the festival.  Meanwhile, younger independent choreographers are far greater in number than those represented onstage. ))

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