Tag Archive | "Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance"

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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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Interview with Yair Vardi: A View of Israeli Concert Dance from the Top (Podcast)

Posted on 17 January 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.)

Yair Vardi
Yair Vardi. Photo by Gadi Dagon, courtesy of Yair Vardi.

(This podcast was initially produced for Israel Seen, and the text is amended from my writing there, The Winger, and my own blog.  You can subscribe to this podcast using the iTunes software by clicking this link to the podcast feed.)

If you want to know about the history and programming of the Suzanne Dellal Center, the curriculum in Israel’s premiere undergraduate dance program, and how Israeli contemporary dance compares to American and European contemporary dance, a conversation with Yair Vardi is the perfect place to start.

After a notable career as a dancer, Yair Vardi became the director of Tel Aviv’s Suzanne Dellal Center, a gorgeous Lincoln Center-type complex with studios and theaters primarily used for dance.  He also serves as the director of dance at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, one of the few institutions of higher learning in Israel that grants degrees in dance.

Though these jobs and other advisory positions keep Yair very busy, he found some time to chat with me about Israel’s vibrant dance scene in February 2008.  We talked about the blossoming of dance in Israel over the last several years, the character of Israeli contemporary dance, the annual International Exposure festival at Suzanne Dellal, and much more.

You can hear my interview with Yair Vardi by using the player above or by subscribing to the podcast and downloading it to iTunes.

Finally, if you’re curious about the scope of Israeli contemporary dance, make sure to check Dance In Israel daily from January 20-25 for coverage of the International Exposure festival, held at the Suzanne Dellal Center.

See below for more pictures and links!

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