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.