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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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International Exposure 2008: Day 2

Posted on 21 January 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili


(Video: Ov by Renana Raz and Ofer Amram)

The opening night of International Exposure whetted my appetite for a festival full of Israeli contemporary dance, and now I’m ready for the first whole day of  programming.  And it will indeed be a whole day – events are running from 11:00 a.m. until about 10:oo p.m.!

I saw Yasmeen Godder’s Singular Sensation when it premiered in June, and I’m eager to view this intense work again when it starts our morning. Next on the program is dance scholar Gaby Aldor, who will present a lecture on dance in Israel.  I often found myself reading her articles as I began my research on the subject, so I’m quite excited to hear her speak.

Today will also feature two mixed bills from the annual Curtain Up Festival, which is one of the main platforms for premieres in Israel.  In this year’s Curtain Up 3, we’ll see two collaborations: Bloody Disco by Yossi Berg & Oded Graf, and Reversi by Odelya Kuperberg & Sahar Azimi.  Tonight we’ll also view Curtain Up 2, with It Rains Inside (Rachel Erdos), Post-Martha (Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor with the participation of Ronit Ziv), and La femme 1, La femme 2 (Ronit Ziv).

In between the two selections from the Curtain Up Festival, we’ll be treated to a showing of Ov by Renana Raz & Ofer Amram.  Inspired by S. Ansky’s play The Dybbuk, Ov premiered at the Israel Festival in June.   I attended its first performance in Jerusalem and am looking forward to seeing it here in Tel Aviv at the Inbal Hall!

See below for more video and links.

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