Jerusalem is a city unlike any other. The intricate stitching that connects people of different faiths, ages, ethnicities and dispositions can be found only among the ancient stones of Israel’s capital. The artistic landscape of Jerusalem is equally eclectic. Though Tel Aviv is generally accepted as the cultural center of the country, Jerusalem’s tightknit set of artists have begun to compete for the country’s attention.

Comprised of many unique voices, Jerusalem’s dance community is experiencing a resurgence. While the familiar creators continue to contribute their interpretations to the city’s repertoire, a number of new names are rising amid the white stones. With the establishment of the Machol Shalem organization and a new choreographer’s course hosted by Hazira Performance Art Arena, up-and-coming choreographers have more reasons than ever to put down roots in Jerusalem.

Next week, the Jerusalem Dance Theater (JDT) will premiere its newest work, Second Count, by choreographer Lior Lev. Though the creative process of this work took place in Jerusalem, the festive premiere will be held in Neveh Tzedek’s Suzanne Dellal Center.

Years ago, Lev took his first dance steps in the Bat Dor Academy in Beersheba. He eventually joined the Bat Dor Dance Group, moving north to Tel Aviv. After winning the prestigious Mia Arbatova Ballet Competition, Lev was picked up by Scapino Ballet of Holland.

From Holland he moved south to the Stuttgart Ballet, where he spent eight years as a company member and soloist.

It was during his time in Germany that Lev began to experiment with choreography.

In the years since his first moments at the helm of an artistic process, Lev has shown his work in various festivals around Europe. In Israel, he has choreographed for the Kamea Dance Company in Beersheba and has been featured at the Karmiel Festival.

Second Count is a landmark in Lev’s successful career. After spending more than two decades abroad, Lev returned to Israel for an extended time to work with the dancers of the JDT.

An ensemble piece, Second Count focuses on the desire to belong to a group while maintaining one’s identity.

Navigating between physical group segments and delicate duets, Lev offers a wide range of social and emotional situations. Music by Amon Tobin, Bjork and Appleseed creates an atmospheric backdrop for the interchanges on stage.

Lev’s movement language draws on classical technique mixed with the freedom of contemporary dance.

Though he was born and raised in Israel, Lev’s choreographies are clearly different from those of his local contemporaries. Lev’s stress on long lines and flawless technique are a departure from most of the dance being presented on Israeli stages. His composition reveals a European sensibility, surely gained during his many years abroad.

The Jerusalem Dance Theater is a repertory company dedicated to presenting a wide variety of styles to its audience. In recent years, the JDT has become a beacon to foreign dancers, some of whom will perform in Second Count. Founded by Tamara Mielnik, the JDT has been operating in Jerusalem since 1985. Its repertoire includes classical ballet pieces for the entire family, as well as contemporary works by both young and established choreographers.

The premiere of Second Count will take place on May 9 at the Suzanne Dellal Center. For more information and tickets, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger