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Shades of Dance 2011: 16 New Choreographers at Suzanne Dellal

Posted on 11 August 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Liron Ozeri’s Caravan.  Photo by Kobi Ben Sasson.

As Idit Herman stepped up to the podium in Yerushalmi Hall at the Suzanne Dellal Centre for the press conference announcing Shades of Dance (Gvanim Bemachol) 2011, she reflected on how meaningful this moment was for her.  Herman – who co-founded Tel Aviv’s adventurous Clipa Theater with Dmitry Tyulpanov – first received widespread acclaim as a creator in 1997 at Shades of Dance, a biennial platform for new choreographers.  Winning the top prize at the 1997 competition helped launch Herman and Tyulpanov’s career; indeed, the award enabled the partners to embark on their next project, and the momentum that built from that initial success progressed until Clipa became a well-known player in the country’s art scene.  Now Herman has come full circle, returning to Shades of Dance as artistic director and helping the next generation of choreographers get their start.

Shades of Dance, which takes place every two years and is now in its sixteenth edition, has undergone numerous changes since its inception in 1984.  The inaugural event was held in Ramla as a celebration of independent choreographers, boasting both concerts and workshops.  Moving to the Duhl Auditorium in Tel Aviv in 1987, the second Shades of Dance bore a closer resemblance to today’s platform with a competition structure inviting new choreographers to vie for a prize.  Shades of Dance found a long-term home at Suzanne Dellal in 1990, and here, it has been led by a string of artistic directors from Ellida Geyra to Naomi Perlov to Hanoch Ben Dror to Herman.  In some years, the choreographers were organized into bills based on themes, while in other years the programs had no titles.  Some editions of the festival included additional shows featuring works by choreographers still in high school.  Occasionally, more than one top prize was awarded, while in 2007 and 2009, Shades of Dance was not organized as a competition.  Amidst all this variation, the constant has been an emphasis on showcasing a broad spectrum of work by new artists who are, more often than not, as yet unknown to the larger public.

Idan Yoav’s Almost Human.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

This year’s Shades of Dance, to be held from September 7-10, will certainly fulfill this aim.  From the 90 aspiring choreographers who applied, Herman selected 16 artists whom she believed were “the bravest among them, who wanted to go all the way.”  These choreographers went through an intensive process, sometimes consulting with the artistic director about how to clearly bring out their works’ content and craft their visual design.  Herman has arranged the resulting dances into five programs according to theme, and noting the great push that the first prize once gave her and Tyulpanov, she is reinstating the competition model so that an award contributed by an anonymous donor may propel the most promising of these young voices to even greater heights.

The five different programs of Shades of Dance 2011 are as follows:

Sharon Vaisvaser’s 42 Inch.  Photo by Araleh.

Program Aleph: Pure Dance highlights virtuoso movement in Gil Carlos Harush’s TAKANA, Smadar Goshen’s Urbania, and Sharon Vaisvaser’s 42 Inch.  Program Aleph will be performed on September 7 at 20:00 and September 9 at 20:00 in Dellal Hall.

Ran Ben Dror’s Agassi Pallas.  Photo by Sarah Ben Dror.

Program Bet: Dream Big features work by four creators whom Herman described as “daring artists with chutzpah.” The program includes Idan Yoav’s Almost Human, Ran Ben Dror’s Agassi Pallas, Lee Meir’s Translation in the Body of the Text, and Yuval Goldstein’s Expensive Shit.  Program Bet will be performed on September 8 at 20:00 and September 10 at 22:30 in Dellal Hall.

Meytal Blanaru’s Aurora.  Photo by Julie Betrad.

Program Gimel: The Future is Now centers on work that Herman calls “futuristic dance” with refreshingly unfamiliar movement.  The bill is composed of Meytal Blanaru’s Aurora, Moran Yitzhaki Abergel’s Over me, and Lilach Livne’s Monday Larissa.  Program Gimel will be performed on September 7 at 17:30, September 8 at 22:30, and September 9 at 12:00 in Yerushalmi Hall.

Yoni Soutchy’s Ben.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Program Daled: Forbidden Fruit has been dubbed “sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll” by Herman and includes Yoni Soutchy’s Ben, Merav Cohen’s And When the Beast Returned, and Amit Zamir’s Buba (Doll).  Program Daled will be performed on September 7 at 22:30, September 8 at 17:30, and September 9 at 14:30 in Yerushalmi Hall.

Artour Astman’s Foosho.  Photo by Alexander Sherbakof.

Program Hey: Rare Animal showcases artists who, according to Herman, “researched the physical border between human and animal” and boast “rare physical abilities, almost beyond human.”  The bill features Liron Ozeri’s Caravan, Ido Batash’s Bread and Circuses Blood, and Artour Astman’s Foosho.  Program Hey will be performed September 9 at 22:30 and September 10 at both 17:30 and 20:00 in Yerushalmi Hall.

A closing ceremony will take place on September 10 at 23:30.

Tickets are available at 03-5105656 or online at the Suzanne Dellal Centre’s website.

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Dance in the Desert: Shavuot at Adama

Posted on 22 May 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Photo: At Adama’s Shavuot festival in 2008, dancers gathered around for an aerial dance workshop.

While some dancers and movers will gather at Vertigo Dance Company’s Eco-Art Village for the Hagiga festival during Shavuot, others will journey into the Negev desert for a different event: Adama’s Hagiga Levana (White Festival or White Celebration).

Adama is a unique dance center run by choreographers Nir Ben-Gal and Liat Dror (more on them and the center soon, I promise!).  Last year, their Shavuot festival was called Dance in the Desert and was a collaboration with the Amuta or Choreographers Society.  I attended the festival and made a photo journal called “Dance in the Desert” for The Winger; you can check it out below.

This year’s Hagiga Levana will be a smaller and more intimate festival than Dance in the Desert, but it should be no less warm and celebratory.  Attendees can participate in workshops as well as find time for themselves to reflect in the peace of the desert.  They’ll also enjoy a performance of the Adama company’s latest work.  You can visit Adama’s website for more information on this Shavuot event, which will run from May 28-30.

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Home Port Festival: History in the Making for the Choreographers Association

Posted on 13 March 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili


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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