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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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“Then and Now” Brings Old and New Together at Shades of Dance

Posted on 22 March 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili


Video: Then: Ronit Ziv’s Rose Can’t Wait, from the 1999 Shades of Dance Festival

On my way home from “Then and Now,” a special opening program of the Shades of Dance (Gvanim) festival, J.S. Bach’s Air on the G String played on my iPod.  Immediately, images from a black-and-white film of choreographer Doris Humphrey’s Air for the G String flashed through my mind. Humphrey’s dance has not only been immortalized on film but stayed alive in reconstructions from Labanotation score; it’s a powerful reminder that choreography doesn’t need to be shelved a few years or even many decades after its premiere.

This was an appropriate vision after a concert which not only celebrated the new but paid tribute to the old.  Opening a festival devoted to emerging choreographers, “Then and Now” featured excerpts of four dances which, in the days when the festival doubled as a competition, won the coveted first prize.  Selections from Nir Ben Gal and Liat Dror’s Two-Room Apartment (1987), Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha’al’s Vertigo (1992), Barak Marshall’s Aunt Leah (1995), and Ronit Ziv’s Rose Can’t Wait (1999) shared the stage with excerpts from the choreographers’ latest dances.

These works were met with an extremely warm reception, and I’m sure that the choreographers’ own performances contributed to the excitement.  The prolonged unison and matter-of-fact manners of Nir Ben Gal and Liat Dror, the high-speed actions and reactions of Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha’al, and the daring physicality of Ronit Ziv and fellow dancer Noa Rosenthal were riveting to watch – especially because, in the case of Nir & Liat and Noa & Adi, these choreographers no longer perform on a regular basis. (( Barak Marshall, who is now based part-time in L.A., was not in Israel for this performance. ))

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International Exposure Sends Israeli Dance Around the World

Posted on 13 February 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

"Monger" by Barak Marshall

(Photo: Barak Marshall’s Monger has been invited to tour abroad.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.)

Ynet, the website for the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, announced this week that International Exposure has already yielded invitations for several Israeli choreographers to travel abroad.  I’ve gleaned the following information from Ynet’s Hebrew article.

Barak Marshall’s production, Monger, proved to be a big hit among the visitors to International Exposure.  It will tour to Spain, Switzerland, Croatia, and Romania this spring.  The dance will later be shown at the Joyce Theater in New York and at the 2010 Dance Umbrella Festival in London.

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Snapshots from International Exposure 2008

Posted on 07 February 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Hydra

Hydra by Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak closed International Exposure.  Photo by Seto Hidemi.

Most visitors to this year’s International Exposure were festival directors, arts presenters, diplomats, or critics.   I, however, came as a researcher.   With this festival – as with my other research activities – I sought to discover, to interpret, to understand.  I searched for old connections and new pathways.

Featuring over 40 works, International Exposure was exactly the right place to look for the threads which tie together this country’s concert dance scene.  The festival is a like a yearbook for Israeli dance.  The offerings by each choreographer serve as the album’s individual portraits.   Mixed bills drawn from some of the country’s other festivals (Curtain Up; Machol Acher/Other Dance Project) hint at the structure of the dance community, just as club pictures reveal a school’s cliques and groups.  And with the 20+ concerts clustered together in a mere six days, it’s possible to see the trends which characterized much this year’s artistic output. (( It should be noted, though, that some choreographers were missing from this year’s International Exposure.  Some well-established artists including Nimrod Freed, Anat Danieli, and Adama’s Nir Ben-Gal and Liat Dror did not present work at the festival.  Meanwhile, younger independent choreographers are far greater in number than those represented onstage. ))

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International Exposure 2008: Day 4

Posted on 23 January 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

(Video: Barak Marshall’s Monger)

Just like the dancers, the audience is moving around a lot today at International Exposure.

Our day kicks off at 11:00 a.m. in a high energy fashion with Rami Be’er’s 60 Hz, performed by the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in the Suzanne Dellal Hall.  Afterwards, we’ll walk across the plaza to the Inbal Dance Theater for Sahar Azimi’s Torus.  Then we move to the complex’s third theater, the Yerushalmi Hall, for the Other Dance Project: Yuval Shalem’s If Not a Flag, Then a Sandwich, Lazaro Godoy’s Jugo de Limon, Gyula Csakvari’s Amarili, and Eyal Munteanu’s Limits.

For our next move, we’ll head over to the reception tent for a traditional Kabbalat Shabbat, the welcoming of the Sabbath.   After this brief break, we’re on the go again.  Our next stop is Kibbutz Yakum for a performance by the Israel Ballet; the company will be performing Xta and Ni-Na by artistic director Berta Yampolsky.

Back in Tel Aviv, we’ll walk through Neve Tsedek to the Tavi Dresner Gallery for Solo Colores by Arkadi Zaides.  And finally, we’ll end up right back where we started: the Suzanne Dellal Center’s main hall.  Barak Marshall’s Monger, which premiered at this year’s Tel Aviv Dance festival, will complete our busy day.

See below for more video and links.

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