Tag Archive | "flamenco"

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Antonio Márquez Brings Fiery Flamenco to Israel

Posted on 13 January 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Antonio Márquez. Photo courtesy of Ora Lapidot PR.

This article was first published in the Jerusalem Post.

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Although Israel is best known for contemporary dance, Israeli audiences seem to have an insatiable appetite for flamenco.  Besides boasting several thriving local flamenco companies and an annual flamenco festival and competition, the country has hosted some of the world’s most prominent flamenco troupes in performances that draw large, enthusiastic crowds. Now, after two previous successful visits to Israel, the legendary Antonio Márquez is returning with his company to satiate Israelis’ hunger for top-notch Spanish dance. “The Israeli audience embraced us on our previous visits and we would like to return a warm embrace,” explains Márquez.

Born in 1963 in Seville, Márquez studied flamenco with Antonio Ruiz Soler, a leading dancer of his day, and joined the renowned National Ballet of Spain in 1982. Márquez’s phenomenal technique and dramatic stage presence made him a star with the company and a popular guest artist in other preeminent companies and international galas.  As a performer, he received coveted awards including the Nureyev Prize, and in 1998, he was named Spain’s Most Esteemed Professional Dancer.

Compañia Antonio Márquez. Photo courtesy of Ora Lapidot PR.

In 1995, the virtuoso dancer founded Compañia Antonio Márquez. With Márquez and a roster of talented dancers enlivening captivating, colorful productions, the Madrid-based company has garnered critical acclaim and won a popular following in both national and international tours. For its third trip to Israel, Compañia Antonio Márquez will be the guest of honor of the international dance series at the Herzliya Center for the Performing Arts from January 13-16 before touring to Haifa, Rishon Lezion, and Jerusalem.

Compañia Antonio Márquez. Photo courtesy of Ora Lapidot PR.

Márquez has planned an enticing double-bill for his troupe’s Israeli performances.  Set to Maurice Ravel’s rousing score, Bolero highlights Márquez’s penchant for combining classical flamenco technique with strikingly contemporary choreography. Positioned center stage in a spotlight, every fiber of Márquez’s body exudes power and passion; bursts of lightning-fast footwork are juxtaposed with slow head rolls, subtly expressive isolations, and the gloriously smooth unfurling of his muscled arms. As the music builds, so too does the action with the ensemble. Márquez smartly moves the dancers around the stage in striking formations, sometimes punctuating a strong unison section with an eye-catching canon. All the while, the group entrances with their proud carriage, mesmerizing arm motions, and percussive, rhythmic steps.

Compañia Antonio Márquez. Photo courtesy of Ora Lapidot PR.

Besides Bolero, Márquez has prepared Flamenco Celebration especially for this tour.  Danced to stirring guitar and vocal music, this vibrant group work hews more closely to traditional notions of flamenco dance. Women in tiered ruffled dresses and swirling fringed scarves sweep elegantly through the space, while men in smart suits show off their impeccable high-speed footwork. Sometimes the group surrounds a soloist, clapping, stomping, and gesturing to accentuate the lead dancer’s dazzling movement and impassioned performance. Here too, Márquez electrifies with his brilliant technique and commanding, expressive presence. With such a superb flamenco dancer at the helm, and with an exciting cast of outstanding dancers in well-crafted, compelling choreography, Compañia Antonio Márquez’s concerts are themselves cause for celebration.

More Information

Compañia Antonio Márquez performs at the Herzliya Center for the Performing Arts from January 13-16 at 9:00 p.m. Tickets (269-299 NIS) are available at 1-700-70-29-29.  Additional performances are at the Haifa Auditorium (January 17, 8:30 p.m. 04-8418411), Rishon Lezion’s Heichal Hatarbut (January 18, 8:30 p.m., 03-9666141), and the Sherover Theater in Jerusalem (January 20, 8:30 p.m., 02-6237000).

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Kesem Shel Agada (Children’s Fairytale Festival) at Suzanne Dellal

Posted on 16 August 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Elephants Don't Dance

Elephants Don’t Dance Ballet.  Photo by Ariel Beshor.

I’ve received some requests throughout the year for recommendations about dance performances that are designed for children.  Sometimes I’m able to suggest a work by one of the many top-notch companies and choreographers who occasionally present works aimed at the whole family (some notables: Batsheva Dance Company, the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Noa Dar, and Anat Danieli).

Now, though, there’s an entire festival for children at the Suzanne Dellal Center – and many of the offerings are dance-based.  From August 17-21, the Kesem Shel Agada festival will feature a series of performances and events that are fun for the entire family.  Read on to find out about some highlights!

This article was originally published as “A Magical End to the Summer” in the Jerusalem Post.

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A Magical End to the Summer

As the summer draws to a close, some parents may think they have exhausted their options for keeping their children entertained.  But Michal Mor-Haim, producer of Kesem Shel Agada (the Children’s Fairytale Festival) has a suggestion for weary parents: “From August 17-20, from 4:30 from 9:00 in the evening, when you don’t know what to do with the children, you can come to Suzanne Dellal and have fun.”

With generous support from the Suzanne Dellal Center, the arts and culture branch of the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, and the Yaron Yerushalmi family, Kesem Shel Agada has grown into a beloved end-of-summer tradition.  Mor-Haim notes,”People tell me, ‘We used to come with our children; now we are coming with our grandchildren.'”

Now in its 19th year, Kesem Shel Agada boasts four days of programming which wondrously transform the Suzanne Dellal Center into an artistic playground for children.  Mor-Haim elaborates,”When you come to Suzanne Dellal [for this festival], it’s something else.  You come to see a show in the hall, and then you get out and you can see a lot of things outside, because we have creative workshop, outdoor performances and even a gymboree.”

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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 Lures Audiences to Jaffa Port

Posted on 03 April 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Aviv Eveguy at Home Port

Choreographer Aviv Eveguy performing a solo at Home Port’s opening night.  Photo by Aharela Golran.

The night before my flight to Boston, I trekked down to Jaffa one more time for a performance of Shlomit Fundaminsky and Itay Yatuv’s Metaktek (Ticking) at the Home Port Festival.  As I descended to the port, a car pulled up and a couple asked for directions to hangar #2.  I answered them and smiled – hangar #2 is, well, home to Home Port.

Located next to a swarm of bobbing fishing boats, this enormous hangar is not your typical destination for a dance performance.  Yet the members of the Choreographers Society have lured a mix of devoted dance fans and less seasoned audience members to the Jaffa Port over the last several weeks.  Though some performances were more sparsely attended, the opening marathon of solos on March 12 actually sold out!  Those who were turned away at the door – and those who simply couldn’t make it that night – have a second chance to witness this extraordinary program when the festival closes on April 6.

With concerts nearly every evening and so many choreographers participating, Home Port was a fantastic opportunity for me to expand my familiarity with the Israeli dance scene.  The festival introduced me to Neta Shizef’s flamenco work and to Anat Katz’s contemporary choreography.  I finally got to see dances I had missed over the last season, like Aviv Eveguy’s Dimona, Yossi Berg & Oded Graf’s Heroes, Nadine Bommer’s Manimation, and the Tel Aviv Dance Company’s Tokyo Oranges.  And I happily re-viewed several works, including Hillel Kogan’s Everything, Yoram Karmi’s La Famiglia, and Noa Shadur’s Hunting Rabbits in the North.

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