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International Exposure 2009: Showcasing Israeli Dance

Posted on 05 December 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Rooster

Barak Marshall’s Rooster.  Photo by Avi Avin.

As autumn turns into winter, there’s an interesting progression from one dance festival in Tel Aviv to the next. Tel Aviv Dance introduces Israeli audiences to top-notch dance from around the globe before giving way to Curtain Up, a celebration of new Israeli-made works. And then, in a few concentrated days of concerts, International Exposure attempts to introduce Israeli dance to the world by showcasing the past year’s bounty (including recently premiered Curtain Up works) to foreign arts presenters who just might invite local choreographers to perform in their home countries.

Now in its fifteenth year, International Exposure will present the work of twenty-seven Israeli choreographers to over ninety guests including theater directors, festival directors, and journalists. These visitors will witness a stellar lineup boasting Israel’s most prominent dance companies as well as many independent choreographers at various stages of their careers. Some of the works on the program have been performed many times over the course of the year; others, such as the selections from the still in progress Curtain Up festival, are in their initial performances. Together, these dances offer a valuable retrospective on the past season and paint a representative picture of Israel’s vibrant contemporary dance scene.

International Exposure 2009 runs from Wednesday, December 9 until Sunday, December 13. Many of the concerts will be held at the Suzanne Dellal Centre and are open to the public, so local audiences can catch up on shows they missed during the last year. Other performances will be held at the Israel Classical Ballet Centre, the Nachmani Theater, Clipa Theater, and the Herzliya Theater, giving visitors a peek at the larger scale of dance venues in Israel.

Below is a day-by-day virtual tour of the festival with photographs and videos of many of the dances which will be performed. Want to learn more about the choreographers, companies, works, and festivals I mention? Click on the underlined names to see related articles published on Dance In Israel.

As we say here in Israel, צפייה מהנה – tzfiya mehana, pleasant viewing!

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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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The Holocaust in Modern Dance: Rami Be’er on “Aide Memoire”

Posted on 04 June 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Aide MemoireKibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Rami Be’er’s Aide Memoire.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Suzanne Dellal’s Big Stage festival will close on Saturday, June 6th with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s performance of Rami Be’er’s Aide Memoire (Hebrew title: Zichron Dvarim).   I was struck by the dance’s power when I first saw it last year – but rather than telling you my perspective in this post, I’m going to bring you a different viewpoint: that of the choreographer himself.

Below is a guest post by Rami Be’er, choreographer and artistic director of the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company.

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The Holocaust in Modern Dance (guest post by Rami Be’er)

As a son of Holocaust survivors, I tried to deal with the horrors of the Holocaust, but it took me years until I felt mature enough to do so.  My parents filled the house with art and music, raised us in an Israeli Kibbutz, started a new life and never mentioned the past.  Same as with me, it took decades until they started to speak.

When I felt ready to deal with the horrors of the Holocaust, I created the piece Aide Memoire.

In Aide Memoire, I tried to illustrate the feeling of being “trapped.”  The dancers move ecstatically, trapped in their personal turmoil, spinning while swinging their arms and legs, and banging on the wall; some are crucified, unable to move freely on the stage.

Aide Memoire is not only about the Holocaust.  It deals with matters relating to present life and reality.  It deals with violence, wars, and their impact on our lives.  I created this dance in order to scream: Stop the violence!  Stop the holocausts! Continue Reading

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Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company: From the Galilee Dance Village to the World

Posted on 08 March 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Rami Be'er's "Upon Reaching the Sun"
Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Rami Be’er’s Upon Reaching the Sun.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Just as the Batsheva Dance Company finishes its North American tour and returns home, another major Israeli dance troupe is hitting the road.  Known for its dynamo dancers and visually stunning works, the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company will bring artistic director Rami Be’er’s Upon Reaching the Sun to locations throughout Germany and Italy this month.  Later this spring, KCDC will perform in the Ukraine, the U.S., Poland, and Romania; in the summer, the company will continue to Hungary, Austria, and Croatia, with a few more concerts in Poland.

Whereas most world-renowned dance companies embark on major foreign tours from their home country’s cosmopolitan cities, the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company is launching its travels from a village: the Galilee Dance Village, located on Kibbutz Ga’aton in northern Israel.  This setup is so unique that it’s worth taking a closer look, and KCDC’s video “The Galilee Dance Village” – posted below – provides multiple perspectives of the company’s home.

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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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