Forty-five years since its inception, the Israel Ballet has good cause to
celebrate. Against all odds its founders Berta Yampolsky and Hillel Markman
turned the budding ballet company into a fine ensemble of dancers, one of the
three largest dance companies in Israel.
The anniversary evening opened
with Co-Venti, a new piece by Yampolsky, set to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.20 in
D Minor, followed by two excerpts from previous works by Yampolsky. It concluded
with a rare contemporary addition to the company’s repertoire – Hikarizatto by
Co-Venti confronted a major challenge by choosing a Mozart
concerto, and indeed the choreography struggled to keep the clarity and simple
sophistication of the music. While concentrating on the musical phrases, a heap
of decorative motifs were added, aimed to showcase technique but with little
Over the years, Yampolsky has choreographed most of the
Some of her renditions of the classics worked very
well, but her original neo-classical attempts sometimes turned out to be more of
an Achilles heel. The two excerpts are fine example of her artistic range.
Lacrimosa, a short piece taken from Yampolsky’s Xta, is a beautiful duet that
was danced to perfection by Shira Ezuz and Alexander Uitkin, and the only piece
of the evening that was superbly dressed. The second was Take This Waltz, an
excerpt from a piece dedicated to Leonard Cohen songs. What could have been an
elegant, bittersweet waltz was treated with moves that went against its inherent
grain and didn’t fare as well.
Thanks to Galili and music by Percossa,
the company had its first opportunity to perform a contemporary ballet par
excellence, with sharp, swift, highly technical moves in post-Forsyth style. The
ensemble of 18 dancers looked really good and, more than that, they looked happy
for the rare challenge. So were we.