Karmiel Dance Festival. Photo by Mati Elmaliach.
When many people hear the phrase “Israeli dance,” they think of Israeli folk dance. And while the Karmiel Festival includes all sorts of dance done in Israel – including contemporary, jazz, and ballroom – it’s Israeli folk dance which forms the core of the country’s largest dance festival.
Shlomo Maman, who has been involved with the festival for ten years and took over the artistic directorship from Karmiel’s founder Yonatan Karmon, explained that the idea to have some mix of dance styles was present from the festival’s start in 1988. “The main issue of the festival is the Israeli folk dances, but it’s very important for us to bring other groups,” he says. “All meet together which makes this very big and very interesting . . . everyone will learn from the others.”
This year, the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Ido Tadmor, Rina Schenfeld, Vertigo’s second company, and a group of dancers from the renowned Paris Opera Ballet will make appearances at Karmiel. Yet the bulk of the festival – which boasts 5,000 dancers and 80 events over a mere 3 days – is composed of concerts, competitions, and even classes in folk dance.