Tag Archive | "Machol Shalem"

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Machol Shalem Dance House & the Suzanne Dellal Centre Present a Tribute to the Late UK Dancer and Director, Nigel Charnock

Posted on 06 September 2012 by Deborah Friedes Galili

This is a guest post by Meredith Nadler.

In commemoration of the maverick and unforgettable performing artist, Nigel Charnock. 


Nigel Charnock. Photo by Hugo Glendinning.

The international dance world is greatly saddened by the loss of one of its most gifted and original artists as well as its most maverick and controversial performers with the untimely death of choreographer, dancer and director, Nigel Charnock. In 1986, together with Lloyd Newson, he founded the DV8 Physical Theater whose works over the next 25 years would revolutionize what we thought of as dance and theater. His pieces, especially his solos, deeply touched, inspired and often outraged audiences. The Arts Council of England hailed him as “a national treasure” while he was branded by London Metro newspaper as the “bad boy of physical theater.”  In 2011 he came to Israel at the invitation of dancer Talia Paz and the Machol Shalem Production House of Jerusalem to create 2 new works here in Israel, a duet and group piece. In mid-June, after completing the duet and back in the UK hard at work on his project 10 Men, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer.  On August 1st at St. Christopher’s Hospice in South London, Nigel Charnock lost his battle with the disease at the age of 52.


Nigel Charnock’s
Haunted by the Future. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum.

 As a tribute to this great man, on August 22nd the Suzanne Dellal Centre and BI-Arts of the British Council presented Nigel Charnock’s  final piece, Haunted by the Future, completed only months before his death. This posthumous premiere of his last new work left no one unmoved as it ran, and at times literally through the audience, the gamut of emotions – from tenderness to sheer rage. “Love versus Sex and Art versus Life” describes well this duet combining dance, theater and comedy and that brought the audience face to face with a couple at war, and yes – sometimes even in love. Michael Winter and Talia Paz, two seasoned and exceptional performers, tested to the limit their desires, needs and the illusions they have about being a couple. Love’s pitfalls and man’s vulnerability and egoism were narrated to hilarious effect through a succinct narration of Pop music favorites, from Motown classics like the 1964 Supremes’ “Baby Love” right through an array of anthems from the 80’s and 90’s.  Charnock’s Haunted… is in fact a high strung masterpiece, where the sinews of the pair’s relationship are pulled taut and not a moment goes by that extremes of brutality and fragility towards each other aren’t vying for dominance. The two repeatedly withdrew to opposite sides of the stage, where chairs, water bottles and towels awaited them, as if in a boxing match, only to begin sparring again after they had regained a semblance of composure and the courage to continue the fight. Michael Winter, with his verbal virtuosity and biting, comic flair, had the audience reeling as he deflowered the topical assumptions of a man’s role, duties and even his own virility. Modern day coupledom, that is in this piece meaning the expectations, ambitions and animosity that the opposite sex has in respect to one another, is put on display with a frankness and an absurdity that both enthralled and disquieted us.


Nigel Charnock. Photo by Hugo Glendinning.

The duet Haunted by the Future was followed by a special screening of Charnock’s One Dixon Road, an improvisational solo performed in Jerusalem last year in which Jerusalem itself is caught in brutal clarity by video artists Sascha Engel and Youval Landsberg. The video reveals in stark relief the volatile panorama of a city submersed in the tension of its religious and sectarian polarities. Fleeting glimpses of  the city awash in saturated colors frame for the viewer a most extraordinary landscape and people. Images known around the world are interspersed with everyday scenes that are compelling in both their ritualistic fever and urban mundaneness. True to form, Charnock’s solo relates this reality in a tour de force of spoken word and dance, served up in a satiric manner of a man who declares emphatically that there is no God. Religion, framed by him as a bamboozle, a sham, no more than a car salesman pitch aimed to the susceptible, is put on display as a forgery of love and faith. In his trademark improvisational style, he segues at breakneck speed from the holy, to the personal, to a comical dissection of the most familiar elements of dance, theater, cabaret and stardom.


Ofra Idel’s
Force Majeure. Photo by Hamutal Vechtel.

The evening’s program also included two more duets by Israeli choreographers. Force Majeure, choreographed by Ofra Idel and performed by herself and Danielle Shoufra, tantalizes the audience with a stirring intimacy in which the two women play out a relationship characterized by teasing, compassion and violence. Both possessing powerful presences, they physically test one another to the point of frequent discomfort as they struggle with each other along a journey of separations, reunions and final farewells.  Danielle Shoufra’s quest for self control, her belabored breathing, convulsions and repeated need for resuscitation, mark this piece with a lingering note of death and grief. With a rough and visceral movement language, the two grapple with each other and some unforeseen doom. Accompanying music is an eclectic mix which includes Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue and the Tarantella punctuated by a crystal clear soundscape of rattling chains and a brittle laughter that teeters between hysteria and mockery. Its rawness seems to push the performers to extremes and sometimes even over the edge, in moments that invoke confessions and narrowly aborted suicidal acts. This piece is dedicated to the memory of Tamir Natan, childhood friend of the choreographer, who died in a road accident in La Paz, Bolivia when she was just 21. Further performances of this work will be in Tanzania at the Visa2Dance Festival in October and at the Akko Dance Center later this year. A short film by Betina Fainstein and Lior Har Lev about this piece will be presented as part of a TV series on Jerusalem artists for Channel 8.


Nadar Rosano’s
Off-line. Photo by Kfir Bolotin.

The other Israeli work was Nadar Rosano’s Off-line, in which Nadar Rosano and Adi Wineberg dance a duet that resembles a duel of sorts between man and woman, with an almost constant drumming pace set by the two sidestepping in synchronized fashion throughout much of the piece. A series of choreographic recapitulations of well defined movement phrases emphasizes a routine which grows tenser with each repetition.  Control and a consuming drive to maintain it denotes an irreparable imbalance of power between the two dancers, with Adi Wineberg seeking flight and freedom with swift, deft movements but resolved to return and hold her own against her male counterpart. Music by Japanese ambient electronic artists Chichei Hatakeyama and Kouhei Matsungama serves as a backdrop of continuity which emphasizes the restlessness of their power struggle.  The hypnotic melodies and insistent rhythms that permeate the piece act as an atmospheric anchor, pinning down one under the dominance of the other. This piece can next be seen on September 29-30 in Nicosia, Cypress and in March of next year at the Zurich Tanzhaus.

Meredith Nadler is a Berlin based writer, critic, artist and choreographer. For more about her work, see YouTube videos:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6I_4QBNd0I and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyFRyfpGbY8

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Machol Shalem 2009: A Cutting-Edge Dance Festival in Jerusalem

Posted on 27 December 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili


Video: Trailer for Less Mess, a collaboration between Ruby Edelman, Sascha Engel, and Christina Gehrig Binder

Just as the dance scene has quieted down a bit in Tel Aviv after a series of festivals, the growing Jerusalem scene is heating up with Machol Shalem’s SHALEM festival 2009.  Unlike most of the festivals which took place here in Tel Aviv, SHALEM features not only concerts but classes, such as Ronen Itzhaki’s workshop for men and Claudia Hauri’s workshop for dancers and actors, cleverly titled “Don’t try it at home.”  This year’s programming runs in Jerusalem from 29-31, and Tel Aviv audiences can see some of the festival’s offerings when they come to the Opera House’s rehearsal room on January 1-2.

To get the scoop on SHALEM 2009 and its parent organization Machol Shalem, I talked to Ruby Edelman, who co-directs the festival along with his partner Idel.  The article below was first published in the Jerusalem Post as “Daring Dance in Jerusalem.”

* * *

Daring Dance in Jerusalem

“It’s a whole different playground,” Ruby Edelman says of Jerusalem’s dance scene.  Tel Aviv is typically recognized as the hot spot for concert dance in Israel but Edelman and his partner Ofra Idel are injecting new energy into Jerusalem’s fledgling scene with Machol Shalem.

Edelman recalls, “The initiation of Machol Shalem started in 2002, [with] me and some other independent dancemakers in Jerusalem who were looking for a place to continue [our] creation.”  Initially, the organizers invited young choreographers to present their work on a single evening and each year, the group’s activities expanded.  Eventually they founded a multi-day festival called SHALEM – The Jerusalem Dance Festival and established a home base with a studio in Jerusalem’s Musrara neighborhood.

Or Marin’s Origami.  Photo by Ascaf.

Now, with three days of inventive workshops and cutting-edge performances by both Israeli and foreign artists, SHALEM is easily one of Israel’s most adventurous dance festivals.  SHALEM’s progressive programming flies in the face of conservative stereotypes that characterize both Jerusalem itself and the city’s arts scene.  Indeed, Edelman affirms that the festival’s mission is “to present an alternative channel to what modern, contemporary, independent dance can be at this time . . . to search for things which are not obvious and which present variations of what dance can be about.”

Running from December 29-31, SHALEM 2009 advances this search for bold, experimental approaches to dance with what Edelman calls an emphasis on “unique, fresh collaborations of new dance and new media.”  Efrat Rubin joins forces with animation artist Osnat Wald to create her latest work, Yom (Day).  Meanwhile, Copenhagen-based Israeli choreographer Esther Wrobel performs while hanging on a rope against the backdrop of Marlene Nielson’s video projections in CRUST.  Even Splash, a work for young audiences by Australian-born, Jerusalem-based choreographer Joel Bray, includes an interactive video along with live dance.

Less Mess by Ruby Edelman, Sascha Engel, and Christina Gehrig Binder.  Photo by Christian Glaus.

Video and an exploratory spirit also play a prominent part in Edelman’s work, a co-production of Machol Shalem and Tanzhaus Zurich with Swiss dancemaker Christina Gehrig Binder and German filmmaker and choreographer Sascha Engel as creative collaborators.  The trio, graduates of the Rotterdam Dance Academy and frequent artistic partners, embarked on a road trip throughout Israel that was filmed by Seffy Hirsch.  Then the three choreographers built a series of duets based on their experiences during this journey.  The resulting work, called Less Mess, includes clips of the video as reference points.

Technology plays an even more active role during the performances of a few innovative works to be showcased in SHALEM 2009.  During Or Marin’s new Origami, a real-time recording of the work will be projected while the dancers perform.  Berlin-based choreographer Efrat Stempler is also working with real-time recording and projection in her evening-length Shu Shu.  In this trio, the dancers are outfitted with miniature surveillance cameras that monitor the other performers and expose them by screening images in all directions throughout the space.

SHALEM 2009 also features Entr’acte, a duet by Holland’s dance theater cabaret group Gato Bizar that was a previous success in the festival.  The shows are rounded out with excerpts from the Jerusalem-based Kolben Dance Company’s latest production, Amir Kolben’s Min-hara, and a new solo by former Kolben dancer Evelin Ifrach.

Entr’acte by Gato Bizar.  Photo by Maarten Eiland.

While SHALEM’s exciting programming should be enough to attract crowds from outside Jerusalem into the city, the festival is also catering to Tel Aviv’s committed dance audience by bringing both Less Mess and Shu Shu to the Opera House’s rehearsal room from January 1-2.  Machol Shalem’s purpose may be to strengthen dance in Jerusalem, but with its daring curatorial vision, it is enriching the entire country’s cultural scene.

More Information

SHALEM’s performances run from December 29-31 at the Gerard Behar Center in Jerusalem and from January 1-2 at the Opera House in Tel Aviv.  Tickets are available at www.bimot.co.il or 02-6237999.

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Machol Shalem: The Jerusalem Modern Dance Festival

Posted on 16 November 2008 by Deborah Friedes Galili


A video about the Jerusalem Modern Dance Festival 2007

Tel Aviv may be the undisputed center of contemporary dance in Israel, but Jerusalem also boasts several dance companies, studios, and presenters as well as its own dance festival.  Now in its fourth year, Machol Shalem – also known as the Jerusalem Modern Dance Festival – will run from Wednesday, November 19 until Friday, November 21.  The festival opens on Wednesday with Nimrod Freed’s unique PEEPDance and continues with two mixed bills showcasing work by Israeli and African choreographers.  On Friday, the festival will finish with four hours of live dance and music at Jerusalem’s Havatzelet passage.

To get a sense of the festival, you can take a peek at the videos from 2007 (above) and 2006 (below – click on “Read the rest of this entry”); you’ll see snippets of backstage preparations, engaging performances, and happy audience members.  For more information, visit the Machol Shalem festival’s website, and check out Dance In Israel’s Events page for listings.

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