Tag Archive | "Judith Brin Ingber"

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A Perfect Storm of Dance

Posted on 10 December 2013 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Tel Aviv Port

 The view from the port.  Photo by Judith Brin Ingber.  

This is a guest article by Judith Brin Ingber.  

The sea was stormy today as I walked along the seashore to get to the Suzanne Dellal Dance Center from Jaffa where I’m staying. It’s the first full day of the extraordinary International Dance Exposure, in its 19th year of bringing dance presenters, producers, performers too from all over the world to see Israeli dance. I wondered what kind of dance gales or becalmed ideas would I see?

According to last night’s audience barometer the dance that swept everyone off their feet was Hillel Kogan’s We Love Arabs. In reality John Kerry has traveled again from DC to Tel Aviv for negotiations, but we heard a different kind of story told with spoken text. “I’m not really into text,” said Hillel chatting non-stop as the audience roared, hardly interrupting his musings about how he feels certain parts of the space reject him as he works, about how hard it is to occupy one’s space and keep one’s identity….the dance duet played out with humor for the wrong assumptions we make, for the naïveté of politics, for what a choreographer takes and demands from the dancer — is there a metaphor here? Two of the funniest images? Hillel says there should be outside symbols of who was the Arab and who the Jew and gives his young charge a black pen. The obvious Magen David symbol with its two interlocking triangles is drawn on Hillel’s blue t-shirt. But where to put a symbol on the young Arab dancer’s black shirt? Hillel goes for his forehead and the Arab dancer asks, “What did you draw?” Hillel holds up his fingers in a half moon shape, “You know, the ummmm, the crescent…” “Yes but I’m a Christian.”  The audience roared at the confusion. Text and dance interlocked as the two flipped into and sashayed out of each other’s supposed sides. A bowl of hummus appeared and Hillel slathered their faces with it, beard and all, since it’s something in common both cultures love. Then he hopped off the stage and sardonically passed out pita with hummus to the audience members sitting down in front.

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 Hillel Kogan’s We Love Arabs.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

All 135 guests from 28 countries plus 8 cultural attaches and perhaps some of the diplomats who attended the opening of International Exposure were bused to a new performing space in the old Jaffa fishing port the first afternoon. We saw seven different choreographers’ works before busing back to the dance center. Clearly the International Exposure is one of the reasons for the interest in Israeli dance all over the world — I have spoken to presenters from Senegal, Russia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Germany and that dance country known as New York, plus words of Korean, Swedish, Chinese, Italian and many others swirl around as we wait to get into studios and theatres big and small.

This doesn’t count all that we might see today and tomorrow… Countless rules and expectations are upended in this Festival as the storm of dance pours over us.

Judith Brin Ingber lives in Minnesota but returns often to Israel to teach dance history and to catch up on dance performances.  She lived in Israel from 1972-1977 teaching apprentices for the Bat Dor and Batsheva Dance Companies. She also choreographed a program for young audiences for Batsheva, assisted Sara Levi-Tanai at Inbal Dance Theater, and co-founded the first dance magazine with Giora Manor called The Israel Dance Annual. Her recent book, Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance, was published by Wayne State University Press. 

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Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance, edited by Judith Brin Ingber

Posted on 14 December 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili


Image courtesy of Judith Brin Ingber.

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance ever since writer and editor Judith Brin Ingber first sent me a table of contents.  When I finally met her in person last year at the Modern Jewish Experience through the Lens of Dance conference at The Ohio State University, she whetted my appetite for the anthology even more with her slide show of images from the book.  And now, having carefully read through my copy of this sizable volume, published this past summer by Wayne State University Press, I can vouch that this book was well worth the wait.  For those of us who study the field – and for those who wish to know more about the subject – Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance is an invaluable resource.

Besides a few of Brin Ingber’s own writings, this anthology includes an extraordinarily diverse array of writers: Sara Levi-Tanai, Felix Fibich with Judith Brin Ingber, Janice Ross, Nina S. Spiegel, Josh Perelman, Ayalah Goren-Kadman, Dawn Lille, Shalom Staub, Giora Manor, Zvi Friedhaber, Barbara Sparti, Yehuda Hyman, Jill Gellerman, Dina Roginsky, Elke Kaschl, Naomi M. Jackson, and Gaby Aldor.  Some of these authors are themselves dancers and choreographers who offer their first-person insights, while others approach their topics from a scholarly point of view.  This breadth of voices is one of the book’s greatest strengths, engaging the reader anew with the start of each article.

Moreover, with writings by such a substantial number of authors who boast different areas of expertise, Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance provides perspectives on a remarkably wide range of subject matter.  Articles on Jewish dancing masters in Renaissance Italy, Israeli folk dance as practiced in Israel and New York City, Hasidic dance, Yemenite dance, Kurdish dance, Ethiopian dance, ballet, contemporary dance, and more all find their place in this book.  Spanning history and geography, and encompassing dance performed both onstage and off, the anthology portrays a broad yet nuanced vision of how Jews have danced and continue to dance.

In keeping with the title of the book, Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance features not only texts but also a wealth of images.  182 illustrations illuminate the authors’ points.  You can view some of the images and hear Brin Ingber’s explanations in the video produced by the Jewish Daily Forward below.

Images of Jewish & Israeli Dance from Jewish Daily Forward on Vimeo.

Since the publication of Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance, Brin Ingber has embarked on a series of book signings and lectures, and her travels have now brought her to Israel.  On Sunday, December 18, she will speak at the Dance Library of Israel at 8:00 p.m.  Entrance is free, but due to limited seating, reservations should be made by e-mailing [email protected]

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