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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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Dancing Differently: New Works by Lazaro Godoy and Dana Ruttenberg

Posted on 27 March 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Lazaro Godoy in "Zero-Z-One"

Lazaro Godoy in Zero-Z-One.

March has been a particularly rich month for dance in Tel Aviv, with both Shades of Dance (Gvanim) at Suzanne Dellal and Home Port in Jaffa.  But two of this month’s more unique offerings – Lazaro Godoy’s Zero-Z-One and Dana Ruttenberg’s NABA – premiered outside of these festivals.

In background and approach, these two artists are themselves unique.  Cuban-born and Juilliard-trained, Lazaro Godoy performed in Switzerland before landing in Israel last year; since his arrival, he has caught my eye in dances by Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak, Sahar Azimi, and Maya Levy.  Dana Ruttenberg, an Israeli native, also made her way to Manhattan.  After receiving her undergraduate degree from Columbia University, she showed her choreography throughout New York before returning to her native country.

Both Lazaro and Dana cast away the conventions of dance concerts in their latest works.  With Zero-Z-One, Lazaro trades the proscenium theater for an open plaza and multi-room gallery in old Jaffa, where he dances a response to visual artist Ayal Shifron’s exhibit Positioning.  Meanwhile, Dana’s NABA stays on the stage but abandons a traditional sound score.  Instead of piping music into the theater, Dana provides audience members with headsets and audio guides like those used in museums.

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Home Port Festival: History in the Making for the Choreographers Association

Posted on 13 March 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili


Choreographers celebrating before the opening of the Home Port festival.  Photo by Dorit Talpaz.

This may sound a bit extravagant, but I don’t think I am exaggerating.  Last night I witnessed dance history – and I hope that the opening night of the Home Port Festival (and the festival itself) will go down in the books not as an isolated moment in time but as the recognized beginning of a new stage, figuratively and literally, for Israel’s independent choreographers.

The excitement was palpable when I arrived at the festival last night, and the energy only grew as more people streamed into the enormous hangar.   While Oy Division played a rousing klezmer set, I mingled with choreographers, dancers, administrators, government officials, dance writers, and dance fans.  Everyone seemed to recognize that this collective celebration of individual creation was a momentous occasion.  The dream for a permanent home for the Amuta‘s artists, though still not fully realized, no longer seemed like an impossibility; indeed, the possibilities of what the dance scene would gain in the next weeks at Home Port emboldened the choreographers to dream anew.

After the enthusiastic crowd overflowed the risers, a one-of-a-kind dance marathon commenced.  39 choreographers from the Amuta presented a total of 33 solos and 3 duets, and 38 of the choreographers themselves delivered electrifying performances.

My intention was simply to watch and enjoy, but as each piece sparked snippets of ideas, I started scribbling furiously.  What follows is my ode to the Amuta, a series of one-line impressions from each selection.   Please read on . . .

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