A dynamic decade

The annual Jerusalem Dance Festival offers a host of innovative performances and workshops.

December 12, 2012 15:08
3 minute read.

Jerusalem dance festival. (photo credit: Katarzyna Chmura Cegielkowska)


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Keeping track of the projects initiated by the Mahol Shalem Dance House can be tricky. That is to say, with so many different ideas running about, it’s hard to believe that only two people manage all the projects.

Ten years ago, Ofra Idel and Ruby Edelman established Mahol Shalem as a base for dance creation in Jerusalem. At the time, aside from one or two dance companies, there was little support for dance creators in the area. The beginning was modest, with a number of small performances around the city.

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Over the years, Mahol Shalem has gained the respect of the dance community, as well as the Jerusalem Municipality. This year, MSDH is celebrating a decade of growth.

Their annual festival, the Jerusalem Dance Festival, will open next week for four days of performances and workshops.

The festival will include a number of different types of events. For one, this year marks the beginning of a major co-production between MSDH and The Freiburg Theater in Germany. Choreographer and director Graham Smith, whose work with youth in Germany has spanned the past five years, will come to Israel to conduct a workshop for potential members of an Israelbased group. Smith and Edelman will select a number of participants, from age 15 – 25, to take part in weekly meetings that include dance practice and theory. This summer, Smith will bring his German group to Jerusalem, where the two sets of youth will meet for an extensive cross-cultural workshop.

MSDH has also joined forces with the Goethe Institute, which will present a panel discussion on international networking in the dance community. This meeting, which is open to choreographers and the public, will focus on the many paths to establishing international presence as a dancemaker. Leading choreographers and dance presenters from Israel and abroad will discuss the challenges facing the global dance community.

Months ago, Edelman and Idel approached Tel Aviv-based choreographic duo Yasmeen Godder and Itzik Giuli about curating an evening during the festival. Over the summer, Godder and Giuli met with a long list of emerging choreographers and selected four artists, whom they mentored throughout their respective creative processes. The program will consist of Juft or an Accent by Avigail Sfez; God Is Measuring the World with a Compass by Tami Leibovits and Asaf Aharonson; Rehearsal by Yael Turjeman; and Long Veins Passion by Einav Eshel. The fruits of their encounter will be presented on Tuesday night.


On Friday afternoon, three emerging choreographers will present new pieces, each of which was commissioned by MSDH. Artists Gil Kerer, Yuval Goldstein and Aharon Manor were each given the opportunity to create a short piece for the festival.

Kerer’s Silent Parts is a work for four dancers, which explores a space in which each member is free to expose his or her inner pain.

With an original score by Yonatan Albalak, Silent Parts exists in a quiet, intimate space that is charged with emotion. As in his previous work Dive, Kerer shows a maturity and understanding of movement far beyond his years. A veteran of the Vertigo Dance Company, Kerer drew on his fellow company members to assist him in the creation process and performance of this new work.

Based on the success of their previous collaboration, MSDH will once again host Dance Theater Zawirowania of Poland. The company will present their evening-length work Closeness in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Dancer Karolina Kroczak will also teach a workshop for professional dancers at the Kolben Dance Company studio on Friday morning.

The Jerusalem Dance Festival will take place from December 18-21.

For more information or tickets, visit www.machol-shalem.org.

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