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Home Port Festival: History in the Making for the Choreographers Association

Posted on 13 March 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

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Choreographers celebrating before the opening of the Home Port festival.  Photo by Dorit Talpaz.

This may sound a bit extravagant, but I don’t think I am exaggerating.  Last night I witnessed dance history – and I hope that the opening night of the Home Port Festival (and the festival itself) will go down in the books not as an isolated moment in time but as the recognized beginning of a new stage, figuratively and literally, for Israel’s independent choreographers.

The excitement was palpable when I arrived at the festival last night, and the energy only grew as more people streamed into the enormous hangar.   While Oy Division played a rousing klezmer set, I mingled with choreographers, dancers, administrators, government officials, dance writers, and dance fans.  Everyone seemed to recognize that this collective celebration of individual creation was a momentous occasion.  The dream for a permanent home for the Amuta‘s artists, though still not fully realized, no longer seemed like an impossibility; indeed, the possibilities of what the dance scene would gain in the next weeks at Home Port emboldened the choreographers to dream anew.

After the enthusiastic crowd overflowed the risers, a one-of-a-kind dance marathon commenced.  39 choreographers from the Amuta presented a total of 33 solos and 3 duets, and 38 of the choreographers themselves delivered electrifying performances.

My intention was simply to watch and enjoy, but as each piece sparked snippets of ideas, I started scribbling furiously.  What follows is my ode to the Amuta, a series of one-line impressions from each selection.   Please read on . . .

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Home Port Festival: 54 Choreographers in 33 Concerts at the Jaffa Port

Posted on 11 March 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

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The choreographers of the Amuta in Jaffa for the Home Port Festival.  Photo by Dorit Talpaz.

The first hint that something big was happening in Israel’s concert dance scene was an e-mail from Yossi Berg and Oded Graf about their upcoming performance schedule.  One listing mysteriously said that the duo was presenting Heroes at the Jaffa port for a choreographers festival.  Choreographers festival?  In Jaffa?  Many dance festivals here are annual ones, and I didn’t remember anything like that from last year.

Next I started to see some Facebook events popping up, with choreographers including Hillel Kogan, Noa Dar, Shlomit Fundaminsky, and Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor inviting friends to attend performances at the port during March.   My curiosity grew as the number of choreographers involved increased.

Finally, Yasmeen Godder pulled me over before class one day and told me I should look into a very exciting, unprecedented event: the Home Port festival.  As I talked more with her and followed a few leads, I found out that this was, indeed, something big.

The Home Port festival was initiated by the Amuta (which translates as the Choreographers Association or the Choreographers Society), an umbrella organization for fifty-four independent choreographers who draw from styles as varied as contemporary dance, flamenco, and belly dance.  Working outside of the country’s larger companies, these established choreographers are responsible for much of Israel’s flourishing concert dance scene – and all of them will present their creations in thirty-three different concerts over the next four weeks in a hangar at Jaffa’s port.

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Israel’s Curtain Up Festival: “Another Op’ning, Another Show” for Contemporary Dance

Posted on 30 November 2008 by Deborah Friedes Galili


(Hillel Kogan’s “Everything” will premiere in the 2008 Curtain Up Festival)

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“Another Op’ning, another show
In Philly, Boston, or Baltimo’
A chance for stage folks to say hello
Another op’ning of another show.”
-Lyrics by Cole Porter for the musical Kiss Me Kate

It’s time for another op’ning of another show – again, and again, and again (and again) – in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem this month. The 2008 Curtain Up Festival will bring 4 programs worth of premieres by independent choreographers to the Suzanne Dellal Center and The Lab (HaMaabada) during December.  Michael Getman, Maya Levy, Rachel Erdos, Tomer Sharabi, Maya Stern, and Hillel Kogan will each present new works, as will the collaborative teams of Sahar Azimi and Odelya Kuperberg; Yossi Berg and Oded Graf; and Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor with the participation of Ronit Ziv.  The entire festival opens at Suzanne Dellal on December 3 with a special presentation of Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak‘s Shaker, which recently toured the United States.

For a listing of this year’s Curtain Up performances in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, please visit Dance In Israel’s Events page.  You can read both Helen Kaye’s preview and Ori J. Lenkinski’s preview of the festival in the Jerusalem Post and view the Suzanne Dellal Center’s Hebrew program of Curtain Up.  Finally, I’ll leave you with “Another Op’ning, Another Show,” which I wrote for my own website on November 20, 2007 after attending last year’s Curtain Up Festival.  Make sure to click below and view the rest of the post; there’s another video to whet your appetite!

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