Tag Archive | "improvisation"

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A Peek into Nimrod Freed’s Choreography

Posted on 06 June 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili

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.

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Experiencing Yasmeen Godder’s Repertory Workshop

Posted on 30 September 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Yasmeen Godder's "Two Playful Pink"

Yasmeen Godder and Iris Erez in Godder’s Two Playful Pink.  Photo by Tamar Lamm.

More than a year ago, I had the opportunity to take a week-long repertory workshop at Yasmeen Godder’s studio.  I found the intensive enriching both as a dancer and as a dance researcher, and I recounted my experience on The Winger on April 4, 2008; that article is posted below.

Now another batch of advanced dancers will have the chance to sink their teeth into Godder’s meaty material during a brand-new, year-long intensive.  Hosted by ActSearch and held at Godder’s studio in Jaffa, this program will build participants’ physical and expressive skills through a mix of technique classes, repertory workshops, and sessions with dramaturge Itzik Giuli.

Besides preparing for this exciting endeavor, Godder has been touring one of her latest works, Singular Sensation. Want to watch some of her work and see what’s in store for her new students?  There are lots of upcoming performances in several locations.  After one more performance of Singular Sensation at Suzanne Dellal on October 1, the production is traveling to Prague and Bern in October before touring Germany and Belgium in November.  For more information on the intensive workshop and the tour, check out the links at the end of this article.

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Yasmeen Godder’s Repertory Worskhop (April 2008)

It’s been more than seven months since I have learned new repertory, and while I’m loving my dance classes and improvisational projects, I do miss the process of absorbing and living in a piece of choreography.   So even though my body feels a bit tired now, my spirit is extremely happy after tasting a bit of Yasmeen Godder’s work!

I just finished a five-day workshop at her studio in Jaffa (at the south of Tel Aviv – technically, the city is Tel Aviv-Yafo).  Yasmeen is currently on tour in Europe with her production Sudden Birds, so two of her dancers led the intensive.  Each day began with Eran Shanny’s technique class, which was very similar to Yasmeen’s with its influences of release technique, yoga, Feldenkrais, and more.

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Reflections on the Gaga Intensive 2009

Posted on 06 August 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Gaga Intensive

Ohad Naharin leads class at the Gaga Intensive 2009.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Last year, I only made it to two days of the Gaga Intensive because I was heading back to the U.S. for the summer.  But this year, I enjoyed two glorious weeks of dancing with 120 participants from around the world.  During our breaks, I talked to many of the dancers about why they came to the workshop, what they enjoyed most, and what they got out of the experience.  I’ll be posting more of my writing about the Gaga Intensive later, but first I wanted to bring you some inspiring voices from these dancers.

If you want to share your experience from the Gaga Intensive, you can write a comment at the bottom of this post!

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Allison Shir

– United States, via Amsterdam

I came to the Gaga workshop to expand my vocabulary in a new way.  Sometimes if you keep going to the same classes and do the same styles, your artistry can get stale.  I think this [intensive] is a lot about how your artistry can feed your physicality and technique rather than the other way around.  I think that makes for a much richer and satisfying workshop, and you can take away a lot for your career and your life.  It’s not just about dancing with your body but with your life, and about the interconnectedness of everything – there are dynamic possibilities within everything here.

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Shlomit Fundaminsky: An Interview on Improvisation and Israeli Life (Podcast)

Posted on 26 July 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.)


Shlomit Fundaminsky in Inner Pocket. Photo by Eyal Landsman.

(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.)

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Whether she is performing a solo she choreographed, improvising with the Oktet, or teaching a contemporary dance class, Shlomit Fundaminsky is someone to watch.  She has drawn my eyes in all of these settings.  Onstage she fully embodies the clever characters she creates, and in the studio, she passes on her passion for movement to her many students (full disclosure – I am one of them!).

I have had the pleasure of talking with Shlomit on many occasions since first arriving in Israel, and we finally sat down to record an engaging conversation in June 2008.  Join us as we discuss her career, the connection between improvisation and life, the realities of being a dancer in Israel, and how life in Israel affects the dance that is made here.

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The Israeli Contact Festival: 3 Weeks of Contact Improvisation

Posted on 14 December 2008 by Deborah Friedes Galili


(Improvisation at the Ramat Aviv Mall – Hila Carmel’s video of Lior Ophir’s performance in public spaces class during the 2007 contact festival)

In a mere two months of writing this blog, I have already posted about three festivals (Tel Aviv Dance, Machol Shalem, and Curtain Up). On December 16th, yet another festival will begin: the Israeli Contact Festival.

Whereas the other festivals focus on performances, this three-week festival centers on participation, with people gathering from around the country – and the world – to take part in contact improvisation classes, workshops, and jams. Last year I went to both the opening and closing jams, and I wrote about them for my own blog on December 4, 2007.  Below is my report from the field and another video from the 2006 Greenhouse, so read on . . . Continue Reading

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