Stepping in

To those of us that love dance, it would seem that a significant faction of the Israelis living in the UK are successful choreographers.

By ORI J. LENKINSKI
March 30, 2010 23:28
2 minute read.
Yael Flexer's 'The Living Room.'

yael flexer 311. (photo credit: Chris Nash)

 
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Israelis travel quite a lot. Most men and women in their early twenties treat themselves to an extended vacation abroad following their army service. Young couples hop on flights to Turkey and Greece more often than to Eilat. In Bangkok, New Delhi, New York and Los Angeles, if you want to speak Hebrew, you don’t have to go too far to find a local Israeli to converse with.

Many of those that set off on overseas adventures return to establish themselves in their homeland. However, there is a large population of Israelis – around 750,000 – living abroad. The majority of these Israelis reside in either the US or Canada, with a small but distinguished group living in the United Kingdom. To those of us that love dance, it would seem that a significant faction of the Israelis living in the UK are successful choreographers.

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Over the past two years, we have taken in the marvelous works of Hofesh Shechter, Yasmin Vardimon and, this month, Yael Flexer. Each of these three choreographers holds a company of dancers and performs around Britain and the rest of Europe on a regular basis. Whether it is the perseverance of these talented individuals or the warm support of the British, it seems Israeli choreographers thrive in London.

Yael Flexer found herself in England at an early age. She completed both a BA and an MFA at London Contemporary Dance School. She then started her career as a dance maker in 1993 and was quickly appointed resident artist at The Place Theater in London. She founded Bedlam Dance Company immediately following.

IN 1997, Flexer was awarded the prestigious Jerwood Award. She is currently in residence at The Universtiy of Chichester where she has created ten evening length works for her troupe.

Over the past fifteen years, Flexer has maintained an intense interest in weaving multimedia elements into her work. From this desire sprung Flexer’s collaboration with digital artist, Nic Sandiland. The two recently refreshed the former Bedlam Dance Company, now Yael Flexer, Nic Sandiland/Dance and Digital Works.

Nic Sandiland was trained as an electronics engineer before switching over to study dance. He works with film, installation and performance. Many of Sandiland’s works have been site-specific. Outside of his work with Flexer, Sandiland has cultivated a strong footing within the dance world. In 2007, he collaborated with Candoco Dance Company of 16 Frames, an interactive dance installation, which was commissioned by South Bank Centre.




For their first visit to Israel, the company will perform The Living Room. The 2010 Woking Dance Festival commissioned this piece, where Flexer and Sandiland are resident artists at present. In The Living Room, Flexer and Sandiland attempt to close the gap between audience member and dancer, creating an intimacy that transcends the so-called “fourth wall.”

Flexer’s cast of six dancers, who are also credited as collaborators in the work, will take on the Tmuna Theater’s bare-bones stage. In addition, Flexer and Sandiland will teach a two-day workshop at Studio B for professional dancers and dance teachers. The workshop will focus on “release” technique, repertory, composition and improvisation and is sponsored by The British Council. 

Yael Flexer, Nic Sandiland/Dance and Digital Works will perform on April 9 at Tmuna Theater. For tickets, visit www.tmu-na.org.il.
The workshop will take place at Studio B on April 7 and 10. For more information visit www.studiob.co.il.

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