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Curtain Up 2011: A Festival of Dance Premieres

Posted on 30 October 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili


In Her Own Words by Rachel Erdos.  Photo by Yaniv Cohen.

Founded in 1989, Curtain Up (Haramat Masach in Hebrew) has become a centerpiece of Israel’s contemporary dance calendar.  In many ways, the core of this yearly platform has remained the same over the decades: up-and-coming choreographers who operate outside of the country’s major companies receive financial and artistic support to present new works on a series of mixed bills in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Yet in its most recent editions, Curtain Up has added another layer: cultivating artistic directors who are themselves choreographers.  Last year, four alumni of the festival – Tamar Borer, Sahar Azimi, Ronit Ziv, and Renana Raz – were each charged with curating an evening.  This year, Borer, Azimi, and Ziv are returning as artistic directors, applying the lessons they learned in 2010 to Curtain Up 2011, which runs from November 3-12.

Curtain Up’s three programs will each be performed twice at the Suzanne Dellal Centre and once at the Jerusalem Theatre.  In cooperation with the Choreographers Association and Tarbut L’Yisrael, the works created for Curtain Up will also be performed in Israel’s northern and southern regions, enabling these younger choreographers to gain further exposure.

So just what is on the bill for Curtain Up this year?  Here is a video preview of the three programs:

Curtain 1

Artistic Director: Tamar Borer
Choreographers: Iris Erez, Maya Brinner, Maya Weinberg
Performances at the Suzanne Dellal Centre: November 3 and 12 at 21:00
Performances at the Jerusalem Theatre: November 10 at 20:30

Video: Shuttered by Iris Erez


Video: Forest by Maya Brinner


Video: Some Fish (swim up the river to die) by Maya Weinberg

Curtain 2

Artistic Director: Sahar Azimi
Choreographers: Doron Raz, Roy Assaf, Gili Navot, Noa Zuk
Performances at the Suzanne Dellal Centre: November 4 at 22:00 and November 10 at 21:00
Performances at the Jerusalem Theatre: November 8 at 20:30


Video: Valentia by Doron Raz


Video: 6 Years Later by Roy Assaf


Video: Subject to Change by Gili Navot


Video: Speaker by Noa Zuk

Curtain 3

Artistic Director: Ronit Ziv
Choreographers: Hillel Kogan, Rachel Erdos, Osnat Kelner
Performances at the Suzanne Dellal Centre: November 5 at 21:00 and November 11 at 22:00
Performances at the Jerusalem Theatre: November 9 at 20:30


Video: Obscene Gesture by Hillel Kogan


Video: In Her Own Words by Rachel Erdos


Video: The sad little, unappreciative, Pisces, Jesus man by Osnat Kelner

More Information

Tickets for Curtain Up performances are 60 NIS.  For tickets to Curtain Up at Suzanne Dellal, call 03-5105656.  For tickets to Curtain Up at the Jerusalem Theatre, call 02-5605755.

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Curtain Up 2010: Video Preview

Posted on 22 November 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Dana Ruttenberg’s Private I’s premieres in Curtain 3Photo by Gadi Dagon.

In its 21-year history, Curtain Up – Israel’s primary platform for premieres by independent Israeli choreographers – has cycled through a series of artistic directors and experimented with different formats.  To celebrate two decades of the festival’s existence in 2009, six alumni of Curtain Up created new works and selected up-and-coming choreographers to share their evenings.  Now, in a development of last year’s innovative programming, this year’s artistic directors are four artists who have previously shown their work in Curtain Up: Tamar Borer, Ronit Ziv, Renana Raz, and Sahar Azimi.  Each veteran choreographer is overseeing an evening-long program of new works by emerging choreographers, providing a valuable outside eye for the creators on his or her bill.  With this setup, Curtain Up has added a layer of artistic support to the financial assistance that has long been a major benefit of participation in the festival.

Iris Erez’s Homesick is featured in Curtain 1. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

This year’s line-up of choreographers includes some faces familiar to Curtain Up audiences.  Iris Erez was featured last year on Yasmeen Godder’s curtain, Elad Schechter shared the stage in 2009 with Vertigo Dance Company, and Maya Brinner showed her work on Noa Dar’s 2009 program; meanwhile, Michael Getman presented his work in previous seasons of Curtain Up.  Other artists in this year’s festival have shown their recent works in Tmuna Theater’s annual Intimadance and in Shades of Dance, a biennial platform for new choreographers that often serves as a stepping stone to Curtain Up.

Shlomi Frige’s Rashomon premieres in Curtain 4.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Besides the four programs, this year’s Curtain Up includes an array of events that encourage interaction between the artists and the wider public.  Conversations with the artistic directors and choreographers will precede some of the performances, and a series of workshops will be held in conjunction with the Amuta (the Choreographer’s Society).  The culminating event of Curtain Up 2010 is a landmark symposium geared to spark conversation about dance and the body.  Organized by Yael Nativ, this symposium will be held on Friday, December 3 in Jaffa at the Teiva, 19 Sderot Yerushalayim, from 9:00 until 1:30 in the afternoon.  The first session will contain more academic discussions of selected topics, and the second session will feature four dialogues between dance scholars and each of the artistic directors of this year’s Curtain Up festival.  Admission is free to the public.

Rotem Tashach’s Monuments is featured in Curtain 2.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Dance lovers in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem can catch the four curtains in late November and early December at bargain prices – tickets are a mere 60 NIS.  The Curtain Up programs will tour later this season to other areas around Israel, including Kfar Blum and potentially Dimona.  And if you’re not in Israel – or if you just want a sneak peek at what you’ll see onstage soon – check out the video preview of each curtain below!

Curtain 1

Directed by Tamar Borer, Curtain 1 features works by Iris Erez and Michael Getman.

Performance schedule:
Suzanne Dellal: November 25 and December 3
Jerusalem Theatre: December 2


Video: Iris Erez’s Homesick


Video: Michael Getman’s Father and Feather

Curtain 2

Ronit Ziv served as the artistic director for Curtain 2, which includes works by Tammy and Ronen Itzhaki, Rotem Tashach, and Ofra Idel.

Performance schedule:
Suzanne Dellal: November 24 and December 2
Jerusalem Theatre: December 1


Video: Ofra Idel’s Horse Tail


Video: Tammy and Ronen Itzhaki’s Have You Done


Video: Rotem Tashach’s Monuments

Curtain 3

Under the artistic direction of Renana Raz, Curtain 3 features the work of three female choreographers: Gili Navot-Friedman, Maya Brinner, and Dana Ruttenberg.

Performance schedule:
Suzanne Dellal: November 27 and December 1
Jerusalem Theatre: November 29


Video: Maya Brinner’s The Show


Video: Dana Ruttenberg’s Private I’s


Video: Gili Navot-Friedman’s Check-in

Curtain 4

Three male choreographers – Ariel Cohen, Elad Schechter, and Shlomi Frige – will show their work in Curtain 4, under the artistic direction of Sahar Azimi.

Performance schedule:
Suzanne Dellal: November 26 and December 4
Jerusalem Theatre: November 30


Video: Elad Schechter’s Funis


Video: Ariel Cohen’s The Battle for the 21st Century’s Love


Video: Shlomi Frige’s Rashomon

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Maholohet: SummerDance 2010 Heats Up at Suzanne Dellal

Posted on 29 June 2010 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Video: Batsheva Dancers Create

The Batsheva Dance Company’s dancers might have cooled off at the beach to make this video, but this July, they – and many of Israel’s finest dancers – will be heating up the Suzanne Dellal Center’s stages during SummerDance 2010.  The annual festival, called Maholohet in Hebrew (a play on the words for “dance” and “hot”), will take place from July 1-August 31 and boast 84 performances.

Nuevo Ballet Español.  Photo courtesy of Ora Lapidot PR.

This year’s programming kicks off with a festival within the festival.  From July 1-10, Madrid Dance will showcase Spanish dance including the Antonio Najarro Dance Company, Nuevo Ballet Español, Sharon Friedman and Jesus Pastor, and Pastor and José Marino.  More international guests arrive later in the summer with dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet performing their own creations in Incidence Choreographique and with the Black Light Theatre from Prague in Africania.


Video: Rachel Erdos’s OU’ premieres at SummerDance 2010

As in previous years, premieres abound at SummerDance.  This year’s bounty, totaling 19 new works, will include premieres by Dana Ruttenberg, Kamea Dance Company, Tamar Borer and Tamara Erde, Portal Dance Company, DaNaKa Dance Group, Yoni Soutchy, Idan Sharabi, Ronit Ziv, Sigal Ziv, Elina Pechersky, Rena Schenfeld, Dafi Altebab, Mami Shimizaki, Sharon Vazanna, Anat Grigorio, the Jerusalem Ballet, and Rachel Erdos.  Sahar Azimi, Elad Shechter, and Ido Tadmor offer pre-premieres, and Yaniv Cohen’s work will be shown in its Israeli premiere.

Arkadi Zaides’s Quiet.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

For audiences who missed some of this year’s most intriguing premieres, SummerDance offers a second chance to check them out.  Among the offerings are Arkadi Zaides’s Quiet, which recently returned from a tour of Europe, as well as the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Rami Be’er’s Infrared, Fresco Dance Group in Yoram Karmi’s Particle Accelerator, Kamea Dance Group in Tamir Ginz’s SRUL, Kolben Dance Company in Min-Hara, and Animato Dance Company in Nadine Bommer’s American Cinema. Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak’s Rushes Plus and Ohad Naharin’s Kyr/Z/na 2010, both highlights of the last season, combine excerpts of older works in a strikingly new context. And Vertigo Dance Company presents not only its recent hit Mana but also White Noise and the now classic Birth of the Phoenix.

Batsheva Dancers Create.  Photo by Yoav Barel.

Several evenings pop out from the schedule with a mixture of interesting fare.  This year’s festival includes Batsheva Dancers Create, an annual workshop featuring two programs of Batsheva’s dancers in an array of their own choreography.  Another intriguing evening is Noa Dar’s presentation of her recent Anu alongside a work-in-progress, Banu, which is the extension of her previous creation.  And audiences will have a chance to sample a combination of choreographers when established artists host up-and-coming contemporary choreographer.  These programs include Dana Ruttenberg and Shlomit Fundaminsky hosting Neta Ruttenberg and Uri Shafir; Sahar Azimi hosting Elad Shechter and Yaniv Cohen; Dafi Altebab hosting Mami Shimizaki; and Idan Cohen hosting Sharon Vazanna.

Beta Dance Troupe in Meeka Yaari and Ruth Eshel’s Fathers and Sons. Photo by Ofer Zvulun.

SummerDance 2010 also features several companies and choreographers that add an ethnic flavor to the Israeli concert dance scene.  Beta Dance Troupe blends Ethiopian traditions with contemporary choreography in Meeka Yaari and Ruth Eshel’s Fathers and Sons as well as Adam McKinney and Daniel Banks’s What We are Saying. Rona Bar-On, Sigal Ziv, and Elina Pechersky bring belly dance to the stage, while COMPAS, Silvia Duran, and Tania Vinokur offer variations on flamenco.  Adding to the mix is Bangoura, an African dance company that will perform The dance of the drums.

Batsheva Ensemble in Ohad Naharin’s Kamuyot.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Want to attend a dance performance with your family?  Several family-friendly programs are dotting this year’s bill, including the Batsheva Ensemble in Ohad Naharin’s Kamuyot, Kamea Dance Group in Or Abuhav’s The Ugly Duckling, COMPAS in Carmen and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and Noa Dar Dance Group in Children’s Games.

Rounding out the programming are several critically acclaimed works created in recent years, including Yasmeen Godder’s Singular Sensation and Yossi Berg and Oded Graf’s Four Men, Alice, Bach and the Deer, and evenings of work by independent choreographers including Iris Erez, Shlomi Frige, Maya Levy, Michael Miler, and Michal Herman.

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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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Celebrating Shavuot through Movement: Hagiga with Bodyways, Vertigo & the Amuta

Posted on 19 May 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili


Photos: The 2009 Hagiga Celebration, including Vertigo Dance Company and choreographers of the Amuta. Studio photos from 2007 festival are by Rivi Nissim and Amos Vinikof.

For religious Israelis, the upcoming holiday of Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai.  But for this country’s dancers, Shavuot is a time for celebrating movement.  Leaving the hustle and bustle of daily life behind, they flock to more remote, peaceful dance centers around Israel for a few days of invigorating workshops and inspiring performances.

One of these annual Shavuot gatherings is Hagiga, which translates fittingly to “celebration” or “festival.”   Initiated by the portal Bodways, the event has become a holiday tradition not only for dancers but for people who are involved in other expressive movement arts such as yoga, tai chi, and Feldenkrais.  Rivi Nissim, the founder of Bodyways, emphasizes that the festival “was initiated as a physical (‘down to earth’) meeting between the artists represented in the Bodyways website and the surfers of the website.”

Nissim calls Hagiga a “wandering festival,” hosted in some years by Adama and Ashram in the Desert before moving to Vertigo Dance Company’s Eco-Art Village last spring.  No matter where it is held, the festival always attracts a spirited crowd eager to celebrate and connect through movement.

Now in its fifth year, Hagiga has grown to be a dynamic collaboration between Bodyways, Vertigo, and the Amuta (the Choreographers Society, an association for Israel’s independent choreographers).   The involvement of so many choreographers will make this year’s event somewhat more dance-centered, with several contemporary repertory workshops.  As in previous festivals, there will be a wide range of classes including Gaga, dance improvisation, pilates, Feldenkrais, acrobalance, Cuban percussion, Rio Abierto, voice, and more.  Since all of the teachers are represented in the Bodyways website, the Hagiga festival will indeed live up to its promise as a physical meeting between the portal’s users (and, on top of that, it will be quite a meeting of styles!).

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