Tag Archive | "israel festival"

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The 50th Israel Festival: Batsheva, Merce Cunningham, and More

Posted on 25 May 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Video: The 2011 Israel Festival
50 years of the Israel Festival – this country’s most prestigious multidisciplinary arts festival – is a milestone worthy of celebration.  And for local dance lovers, the jubilee season offers even more reasons to celebrate, for the programming features an extraordinary lineup of artists from home and from abroad.  With a rich calendar of performances through June 18, the 2011 Israel Festival is set to lure concert-goers from around the country to Jerusalem.  Here’s a peek at this year’s dance events:

Video: Strange Fruit

The first day of the festival featured the physical marvels of Australia’s Strange Fruit in Zion Square and the lyricism of the Israel Ballet and soloists from Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet performing Giselle in Safra Square.

Video: Batsheva Dance Company in Ohad Naharin’s Sadeh21

Batsheva Dance Company returns to the festival with Ohad Naharin’s new Sadeh21, created in collaboration with the troupe’s full roster of dancers.  Bathed in soft lighting by Avi Yona Bueno (Bambi) and clothed in variously hued and textured costumes by Ariel Cohen, the company presented a short preview to the press on Monday.  Although the cast is large, the rapport among the dancers often lends the work an intimate feel and effectively draws the viewer into the world onstage.  Sadeh21 premieres on May 25 and continues its run in Jerusalem through May 27.

Naharin is not the only well-known Israeli choreographer premiering work in the Israel Festival.  On May 28-29, choreographer Nimrod Freed and composer Israel Breit will unveil La, a work for four singers and three dancers.  Drawing on their respective backgrounds in dance and theater, longtime partners Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor will debut Ship of Fools on June 9.

Video: Merce Cunningham Dance Company

Two years after Merce Cunningham’s death, the legendary choreographer’s company is appearing in the Israel Festival as part of its worldwide Legacy Tour.  On June 6, the Sherover Theater will host the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s performance of Split Sides (2003) and Sounddance (1975), while the Israel Museum will be the site of several Events – programs including excerpts of Cunningham’s renowned repertory – on June 9-11.

Merce Cunningham’s Events.  Photo by Anna Finke.

Besides these performances, a series of lectures, discussions, and workshops called MerceCampus will be offered at Bezalel, Yaffo 23 in conjunction with the Jerusalem Season of Culture.  Sessions include a workshop with Dance Forms, the computer software used by Cunningham to compose his dances; film screenings and performances of music by Cunningham’s famed partner John Cage; and conversations with the company’s dancers and artistic director.  Entry to MerceCampus programming is free, and the full schedule in English is available here.

Video: The Danish Dance Theatre in Tim Rushton’s Kridt

The 2011 Israel Festival will close with the Danish Dance Theatre in two programs.  Artistic director Tim Rushton teams up with jazz artist Caroline Henderson for Love Songs on June 15.  A mixed bill including Rushton’s Kridt, Enigma, and CaDance will be performed in Jerusalem on June 17 and in Modi’in on June 18.

For more information about programming and ticketing, visit the Israel Festival’s website.

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Israel Festival 2010

Posted on 22 May 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili


Video: Preview of the Israel Festival 2010

As mid-May turns into late May here in Israel, spring is in full bloom.  The sun is now everpresent, no longer occasionally blocked by clouds, and the days grow hotter.  Rain showers are replaced by trickles of tourist groups, portending the forthcoming wave of summer visitors.  And in Jerusalem, the Israel Festival opens, providing the season’s freshest programming in theater, music, and dance.

The Israel Festival traditionally mixes some of the top names from the international arts scene with local favorites, and this year is no exception.  The 2010 dance line-up promises a particularly diverse array of renowned artists hailing from around the world.  Tangokinesis, based in Buenos Aires, brings a tantalizing mix of Argentinean tango and modern dance to Nuevo Tango. Shen Wei Dance Arts will arrive in Jerusalem from its home in New York, but the Chinese-born Wei’s style is infused with elements of Chinese opera, and his work Re is colored by his travels in Tibet, Cambodia, and China. British choreographer Akram Khan is known for blending Indian kathak dance with more modern movement, and his Gnosis is inspired by the Hindu Mahabharata. And the masterful Bill T. Jones will take on American history in Serenade/The Proposition, which incorporates striking video art along with the choreographer’s signature contemporary vocabulary.

Video: Bill T. Jones’s Serenade/The Proposition

Joining these visiting troupes on the festival’s stage is a hometown favorite, Vertigo Dance Company, which maintains a studio in Jerusalem as well as an innovative Eco-Art Village on nearby Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed-Hey. Vertigo will kick off the festival with two free shows of Noa Wertheim’s landmark environmental work, Birth of the Phoenix, before performing Wertheim’s White Noise and her most recent dance, Mana.

Vertigo Dance Company in Noa Wertheim’s Mana. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

The 2010 Israel Festival runs from May 25 until June 11.

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Spring Festival Fever: The Israel Festival in Jerusalem

Posted on 25 May 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Video: LINES Ballet in Alonzo King’s Rasa, which will be part of the Israel Festival.

Spring festival fever has hit Israel.  The Big Stage Festival is in full swing at Suzanne Dellal in Tel Aviv.  There’s many Shavuot festivals planned around the country, and several of them focus on dance and movement.  And from May 24th to June 11th, the Israel Festival will bring world-renowned performing artists in all disciplines to Jerusalem.

The Israel Festival has been a mainstay of the spring festival season since its founding in 1961, though its character has evolved over time.  From its roots as a music festival in Caesarea, the event expanded to include theater and dance.  The Israel Festival moved most of its performances to Jerusalem in 1982, and it remains there today.

Although it bears this country’s name, the Israel Festival is truly an international event showcasing high-quality art from both in and out of Israel.  A quick survey of this year’s dance offerings alone yields four different countries from three different continents (and that’s besides Israel!).

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International Exposure 2008: Day 6

Posted on 25 January 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

(Video: Kolben Dance in Amir Kolben’s “Interface”)

What’s a visit to Israel without a journey to Jerusalem?  Today, attendees of the International Exposure Festival are making the one-hour trip from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  Our visit will start with Kolben Dance Company’s performance of Amir Kolben’s Interface.  After a tour of the city, we’ll return to Tel Aviv for a farewell reception.  The festival closes with the Inbal Pinto Dance Company in Hydra by Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak.  Hydra packed the theater when I saw it at the 2008 Israel Festival.   I’m guessing that though we might be tired after 6 days of dance watching, we’ll flock to the Suzanne Dellal theater one more time for this performance!

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Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak: An Interview on Imagination (Podcast)

Posted on 09 November 2008 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Download the podcast (You can right-click the link and press “save as” to download the file to your computer.)

Right click to download the podcast at this link

Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak’s Shaker completes its U.S. tour at New York City’s Joyce Theater this week.  Photo by Eyal Landesman.

This is the first in a series of podcasted interviews with dance professionals in Israel.

You can listen via the player embedded in this post or subscribe to this podcast for free by visiting our podcast feed and using the iTunes software ((You can subscribe to the podcast feed by searching the iTunes directory for “Dance In Israel”)). This podcast was initially produced for Israel Seen, and the text below was written for The Winger.

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The very first work I saw at the Suzanne Dellal Center last year was Shaker, by Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak.  Despite my jet lag, I realized that Inbal and Avshalom’s visually stunning work was special – and when I later saw the Inbal Pinto Dance Company in Oyster (twice!) and Hydra, I knew that my initial assessment of these creators was correct.  Want more proof of this couple’s exceptional talent and ability to win over audiences with their artistry?  Several hundred performances after its premiere, Oyster still fills the house at Suzanne Dellal, and the Israel Festival had to add a third performance of Hydra this June because of the demand for tickets.

Avshalom Pollak and Inbal Pinto.  Photo by Asaf Ashkenazyn.

In between rehearsals for their new production and tours of their existing repertory, I caught up with Inbal and Avshalom in the spring of 2008 to learn how this imaginative couple concocts such unique creations.   You can learn more too if you tune in to our podcast!

For more pictures, videos, and links, read the rest of my post below:

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