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Kesem Shel Agada (Children’s Fairytale Festival) at Suzanne Dellal

Posted on 16 August 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Elephants Don't Dance

Elephants Don’t Dance Ballet.  Photo by Ariel Beshor.

I’ve received some requests throughout the year for recommendations about dance performances that are designed for children.  Sometimes I’m able to suggest a work by one of the many top-notch companies and choreographers who occasionally present works aimed at the whole family (some notables: Batsheva Dance Company, the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Noa Dar, and Anat Danieli).

Now, though, there’s an entire festival for children at the Suzanne Dellal Center – and many of the offerings are dance-based.  From August 17-21, the Kesem Shel Agada festival will feature a series of performances and events that are fun for the entire family.  Read on to find out about some highlights!

This article was originally published as “A Magical End to the Summer” in the Jerusalem Post.

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A Magical End to the Summer

As the summer draws to a close, some parents may think they have exhausted their options for keeping their children entertained.  But Michal Mor-Haim, producer of Kesem Shel Agada (the Children’s Fairytale Festival) has a suggestion for weary parents: “From August 17-20, from 4:30 from 9:00 in the evening, when you don’t know what to do with the children, you can come to Suzanne Dellal and have fun.”

With generous support from the Suzanne Dellal Center, the arts and culture branch of the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, and the Yaron Yerushalmi family, Kesem Shel Agada has grown into a beloved end-of-summer tradition.  Mor-Haim notes,”People tell me, ‘We used to come with our children; now we are coming with our grandchildren.'”

Now in its 19th year, Kesem Shel Agada boasts four days of programming which wondrously transform the Suzanne Dellal Center into an artistic playground for children.  Mor-Haim elaborates,”When you come to Suzanne Dellal [for this festival], it’s something else.  You come to see a show in the hall, and then you get out and you can see a lot of things outside, because we have creative workshop, outdoor performances and even a gymboree.”

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Remembering Big Performances at Suzanne Dellal’s Big Stage

Posted on 19 July 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Barak Marshall's "Monger"

Barak Marshall’s Monger.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

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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Big Performances

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.”

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