(photo credit: Eyal Landsman)
Rare performances of past highlights alongside new works from prominent choreographers open this year's Shades of Dance (Gvanim) festival on Wednesday at Tel Aviv's Suzanne Dellal Center, in honor of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.
A stellar group of choreographers appear in Then and Now, including two couples who began with a duet that grew into a dance company: Liat Dror and Nir Ben Gal of the Adama Dance Company, performing Two Room Apartment (1986). Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha'al return to the stage with Vertigo (1992), as well.
Ronit Ziv performs a section from Rose Is Not Waiting (1999) and Barak Marshall's Aunt Leah (1995) is to be performed by the dancers of the Inbal Ethnic Arts Center. Selections from recent works by these choreographers will round out this exceptional evening.
Now in its 15th year, the festival has been the starting point for many successful careers, providing young choreographers not only with a stage, but time to grow and explore in a nurturing environment.
Artistic director Hanoch Ben Dror, with the assistance of advisory committee members Yaara Dolev, Sally Anne Friedland, Renana Raz and Niv Sheinfeld, selected 10 choreographers from among 80 applicants. Each program includes three or four short works, with diverse themes and languages of movement.
Three choreographers will perform solos: Anat Va'adya, Anat Meirav and Shir Medvetzky. Dancing alone in Studio B at the Suzanne Dellal Center after a full day of rehearsals with the Inbal Pinto Company, Medvetzky creates the sensation of omnipresent danger. Her eyes fix in terror at a point in space with taut fingers like knives in a dance inspired by the diaries of Sylvia Plath.
Describing her work process, Medvetzky says that she took exercises from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way and translated them into movement as a way of exploring new ideas.
Several choreographers have focused on different aspects of relationships. Tami and Ronen Yitzhaky, a couple both on and off the stage, were inspired by the story of Adam and Eve's creation from the Book of Genesis.
Relationships are also at the core of Shaked Dagan's We Are Going Back, a duet in which the rapport between dancers Adam Ben Zvi and Idan Porges generates intimacy and sparks of kinetic humor.
A different perspective on relationships can be found in Blindspot, the duet Galiya Hazor created for herself and Ofir Dagan, both graduates of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. Held in embrace of her partner, a woman remains isolated in her own journey of discovery, oblivious to his presence. The dance explores the concepts of presence and absence and the nuances of their emotional and physical expression, through movement that conveys the fragile, shifting balance of desire and strength.
Michael Miller, invited to participate in the festival for a second time, ventures into a different realm with Speed of Light, a work for eight dancers. Bringing abstract concepts into the dynamics of his composition, Miller seeks those moments when the spark of the unexpected emerges and incorporates an element of improvisation in his very precisely designed choreography.
Festival goers can look forward to a diversity of individual styles, the return of landmark works, and perhaps, a glimpse of the future.
Then and Now is performed on March 18 at 5 p.m. and again at 9; Gvanim 1 on March 19 at 8:30 p.m. and on March 20 at 1 p.m.; Gvanim 2 on March 19 at 9:30 p.m. and on March 20 at 2 p.m.; and Gvanim 3 on March 19 at 10:30 p.m. and on March 20 at 3 p.m. Shows take place at the Suzanne Dellal Center and cost NIS 45 for one program, NIS 70 for two and NIS 90 for three with discounts available for students, pensioners, Tel Aviv residents and dancers. For more info visit suzannedellal.org.il or call (03) 510-5656.