Choreography is not usually considered a competitive endeavor. That is to say, dance, unlike sports, is difficult to quantify in points. Nonetheless, choreography competitions take place in a long list of countries every year. In Israel, the Shades of Dance choreography competition has been a staple for more than two decades. The event takes place every other year, encouraging newbie choreographers to step into the limelight.
Next weekend, six choreographers will compete for a cash prize and audience recognition in the 17th edition of Shades of Dance at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv. And though the competitive element adds a dash of spice to the event, Shades of Dance is an important platform for choreographers, regardless of winning or losing.
This year, artistic director Idit Herman asked prospective choreographers to consider the 100th anniversary of Ballets Russes’s The Rite of Spring . With an original score by Stravinsky, the ballet premiered in 1913 and quickly became a success. For the past century, choreographers have looked to Stravinsky’s score and Vaslav Nijinsky’s choreography for inspiration.
Thus the Shades of Dance festival will kick off with an evening dedicated to The Rite of Spring . Hillel Kogan will perform his own take on the ballet, followed by an improvisation session danced by 11 performers.
The six choreographers of the 2013 edition of Shades of Dance are Omer Uziel, Adi Paz, Adi Boutrous, Nitsan Margaliot, Smadar Goshen and Merav Dagan.
Each artist approached the subject matter from a different vantage point. The performances have been split into two programs, which will each be presented three times throughout the weekend.
Program A consists of En Moon by Margaliot; Polianot by Paz; and Charlie by Uziel.
En Moon is a solo that portrays a parting ritual. The character on stage, played by Margaliot, is in a conversation with the moon.
Through text and movement, Margaliot attempts to banish a kind of inner voice or spirit from within him. Margaliot is new to choreography. He spent several years dancing with the Batsheva Ensemble before joining the Vertigo Dance Company.
Paz’s Polianot deals with female stereotypes and models of success. In Paz’s creative process, five female dancers delved into their respective high and low moments in life. They investigated the expectations of women in society, looking specifically at how each of them failed to meet the mark. Paz’s work is deeply personal, with a touch of humor.
Charlie, by Uziel, is a duet for one dancer and a large stuffed unicorn.
In Uziel’s premiere choreographic work, he explores the naivety and carelessness of childhood against the reality of growing up. Music by Naduve helps to create the dreamlike environment that signifies youth for Uziel.
Program B consists of Separations Crumbs by Goshen; What Really Annoys Me by Boutrous; and I Can See Them Coming by Dagan.
Goshen’s Separations Crumbs is a sarcastic take on the many goodbyes in life. Goshen assembled a handful of short rituals all dealing with parting. Put together, they take on a new, frantic and slightly tragic tone.
Goshen is a veteran of Shades of Dance, having participated in the 2011 program. Her choreographies have been seen on stages around Israel since.
Boutrous’s What Really Annoys Me is a duet for Boutrous and Stav Struz.
The two are a couple both on and off stage. In this duet, Boutrous and Struz reveal the daily rituals of being together in spite of cultural and religious differences. Boutrous recently completed his studies at the Maslool Professional Training Program. In the past year, he has performed in works by independent choreographers such as Bosmat Nossan, Iris Erez, Dana Ruttenberg and Hillel Kogan.
Dagan’s I Can See Them Coming looks at the rituals surrounding fallen soldiers and grief in Israeli society.
Dagan’s solo presents a woman who is trying to remember and forget at the same time, going through motions to ease her suffering, while torturing herself. Dagan has danced with many choreographers in Israel in recent years. She recently presented work in Tmuna Theater’s Intimadance and in the Acre Festival, where she received an award for Best Execution of a Dance Piece.
Shades of Dance will take place from August 28-31. For more information, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il.