Posted on 05 August 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili
Ohad Naharin’s Hora. Photo by Gadi Dagon.
While SummerDance 2010 has presented an array of Israeli dance at home, a number of Israeli choreographers and companies have also performed at prestigious festivals abroad. For those of you who missed seeing them live – or want to relive the experience of being in the audience – here are excerpts of some of the works that toured the world.
In July, Batsheva Dance Company brought Ohad Naharin’s Hora (2009) to France’s Montpellier Danse, which co-produced the work.
In June, the Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company toured their signature work Oyster (1999) to Durham, North Carolina, for the American Dance Festival (ADF).
At ADF, Avshalom Pollak talked about the nature of his work with Inbal Pinto and the unique mix of elements which shape each dance.
Barak Marshall’s Monger (2008) made its American debut at Jacob’s Pillow in Beckett, Massachusetts. Monger is scheduled to tour the U.S. in April-May 2011, with appearances at the Joyce Theater in New York; White Bird in Portland, Oregon; UCLA’s Royce Hall; and additional performances in San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and West Palm Beach.
At Jacob’s Pillow, Barak Marshall talked about confronting anti-Israeli sentiment on tour and presenting a different side of Israeli culture to foreign audiences.
Posted on 05 February 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili
Video: Barak Marshall’s Rooster
Another guest at International Exposure 2009, Talia Baruch, covers the San Francisco-area dance scene for her blog GoSee– Dance. She wrote some reviews of dances she saw here in Israel in December for her website and is generously sharing them here on Dance In Israel.
Talia’s third article is about Barak Marshall’s Rooster, which was a hit at both Tel Aviv Dance 2009 and International Exposure 2009. Read below to learn more rich background about Rooster and to hear Talia’s take on the work.
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International Exposure 2009 — Suzanne Dellal Center | Barak Marshall
By Talia Baruch
Co-production of Israeli Opera and the Suzanne Dellal Center
This dance-theater piece is based on I.L. Peretz’s Bontsha the Silent, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and on stories from the Bible and Yemenite folklore.
“Here on earth the death of Bontsha the Silent made no impression at all. Ask anyone: Who was Bontsha, how did he live, and how did he die? Did his strength slowly fade, did his heart slowly give out, or did the very marrow of his bones melt under the weight of his burdens? Who knows?
Bontsha was a human being; he lived unknown, in silence, and in silence he died. He passed through our world like a shadow. When Bontsha was born no one took a drink of wine; there was no sound of glasses clinking. When he was confirmed he made no speech of celebration. He existed like a grain of sand at the rim of a vast ocean, amid millions of other grains of sand exactly similar, and when the wind at last lifted him up and carried him across to the other shore of that ocean, no one noticed, no one at all.”
I.L. Peretz, fromBontsha the Silent
After watching a bounty of dance performances back-to-back at the 2009 International Exposure Dance Festival/Suzanne Dellal Center, it was Rooster that hit home and made me go see the show a second time the following week.
Barak Marshall’s Rooster. Photo by Kfir Bolotin.
Rooster opens with the night chirps of grasshoppers and ends with the twitter of morning birds. The events unfold in & out one night. One night that digests interactions in a Kafkan sequence, that throws in the mix Theater of the Absurd, Vaudeville and Greek Mythology, that reels in Balkan, Gypsy, Middle-Eastern and American-Yiddish tunes, all mashed up into one burning stew.
The show reveals a man’s subconscious stream of thoughts under the spell of a dream. And trailing through this flow of feverish thoughts is the vivid image of the Rooster, which also means Gever (“man”) in Hebrew. The allusion to the story of I.L. Peretz’ Bontsha the Silent, implies Barak’s appeal for self-assertion: “trust your desires and act on them.”
The Rooster, with its flamboyant erected cockscomb and fluttering feathers — pecking, idling, roosting, kakadoodledooing — mirrors the villagers: their rapacious jealousy, pestering gossip, vaunting vanity.
And in all that chaos of color and cruelty and caring, of plucked feathers, warm embraces and longing to our womb roots, there lays the connection between hen and human. Being chicken — fearful; plucking feathers — slaughter; Tarnegol Kaparot — sacrifice(the Jewish ritual of sacrificing a rooster for atonement); and the forever existential loop: Which came first, chicken or egg?
Barak Marshall’s Rooster. Photo by Avi Avin.
Barak Marshall was born in Los Angeles to a Yemenite Israeli performer — Margalit Oved — founder of the Inbal Theater Dance Company. Barak, a true auteur, nursed on the rich brew of his cultural diversity. In his creative work, he draws themes, flavors and voices from the exotic ingredients that nourish his roots. He peppers his staged art with implied Jewish heritage, Yemenite folklore and biblical text, like the excerpt noting the twelve tribes (this piece is written for twelve dancers).
Barak created Rooster for the 2009 Tel Aviv Dance Festival, after the great success of his former piece — Monger — featured at the 2008 Tel Aviv Dance Festival.
Talia Baruch is a writer and translator covering the dance/theater scene in San Francisco, where she has been living for the past 11 years. She is the founder of Copyous, providing creative copywriting and Localization Strategies. The ingredients that shaped her life are the explosive dance scene in urban Tel Aviv, where she grew up, the pea-green English country side, where she inhaled a handsome amount of fresh-manure & horseback-countered through endless woods, and the 24/7 Localization/Internationalization business bustle, that put perspective to it all.www.copyous.com
When we sat down to talk in January 2009, I discovered that a conversation with Barak Marshall is very similar to his choreography: fast-paced, peppered with diverse cultural references, and chock-full of attention-grabbing details. These qualities had captured my eye when I saw the premiere of Monger, and when I saw a rare restaging of Barak’s first work, Aunt Leah, I realized these were hallmarks of his craft since the day he stepped into the studio.
As we cafe-hopped in bustling central Tel Aviv during a Friday afternoon, Barak and I delved into a deep, lively discussion covering both his own choreography and the larger context of contemporary dance. Join us for the first part of our interview as Barak talks about his background, his connection to Inbal Dance Theater and Yemenite dance, and the trajectory of his early career from the making of Aunt Leah to his appointment as the house choreographer for Batsheva Dance Company in 1999. Barak, who splits his time between Tel Aviv and Los Angeles, also reflects on the development of Israeli contemporary dance and differences between the dance scenes in Israel and the U.S. Continue Reading
Posted on 06 October 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili
Video: Maria Kong’s Fling
As usual, there are lots of dance performances happening in Israel’s dance scene this month – but as I looked at the calendar, I realized that October is packed with several extra-special events. Below are some teasers for premieres, festivals, foreign tours, online contests, and more. For additional information about the following events and other performances, please visit the Dance In Israel Calendars.
This summer has already been so packed with festivals and performances that I have barely had time to reflect, but I figured it’s high time that I post an article I wrote at the end of Suzanne Dellal’s Big Stage.
I’ve been to numerous festivals since moving to Israel, but the Big Stage stands head and shoulders above many others in my mind. There was something magical about the festival’s outdoor setting, and each impressively large-scale performance brought its own theatrical marvels to the already enchanting space. Further adding to my enthusiasm about the festival was the dual reason for its existence: Tel Aviv’s centennial and Suzanne Dellal’s 20th anniversary. It’s pretty hard to top that!
I first published the article below as “Big Performances” in the Forward on June 19, 2009. Read on to get a sense of what this spectacular festival was like – or to refresh your own memories of this momentous event.
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An eager crowd took its seats high above the Suzanne Dellal Center’s plaza for the opening of the three-week festival Habama Hagdola — The Big Stage. Two majestic palm trees framed the large outdoor stage, and the center’s main building provided a picturesque backdrop. A glance around revealed the impressive scenery of the first century of Tel Aviv: quaint red-roofed homes of the Neve Tzedek neighborhood overtaken within a few blocks by modern skyscrapers.
But it was the action onstage that captured the audience’s gaze. Rooted in a wide stance, five women grabbed their heads and raised their arms in exasperation. Rocking vigorously in place, they performed a series of intricate gestures. Even the smallest motion — a lift of the hip, a tilt of the chin — was delivered with attitude. The movement grew, the pace quickened, and the tension built as five men approached the women.
This nuanced, lively dance — Barak Marshall’s Monger — was only part of the excitement onstage. The popular band Balkan Beat Box lent its infectious rhythms and hypnotic vocals to the choreographic excerpts. As the dance and live music mixed, Marshall recounted, “the energy on the stage was explosive and surprising.”