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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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Tel Aviv’s 100th + Suzanne Dellal’s 20th = The Big Stage

Posted on 13 May 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

The Big Stage at Suzanne Dellal

Photo of the Big Stage by Ariel Besor.

Something big is about to happen.  It’s the biggest cultural draw in town from May 14 until June 6th.  And fittingly, it’s titled Habama Hagdola: The Big Stage.

This isn’t the first time that the plaza of the Suzanne Dellal Center has been turned into a massive, open air theater.  The pictures in this post show a previous transformation from a few years ago.  But this time around, the construction of the Big Stage is marking something truly huge: the 100th anniversary of Tel Aviv and the 20th anniversary of the Suzanne Dellal Center, Israel’s premiere center for dance.

To celebrate both of these occasions, the Big Stage (sometimes translated as the Great Stage) will present some of Israel’s top dance companies and musical groups as well as world-renowned troupes from abroad.  The opening night combines both art forms in a special performance by Balkan Beat Box, with excerpts from Barak Marshall’s “Monger” that are set to music by the popular Israeli band.  As part of the festivities, Yair Vardi, Suzanne Dellal’s director, will receive an award from the Foreign Ministry for his contribution to the field of Israeli dance.

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