‘Sideways Rain’ 521.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In 1897, the groundwork for the State of Israel was laid out at the Zionist
Congress in Basel, Switzerland. Though perhaps the most famous, this event was
one of many markers of the strong connection between the two countries. This
season, for the first time, more than a century later, Israel and Switzerland
will enjoy a diverse cultural exchange. Engineered by the Culturescapes
organization, the coming three months will bring each country the best and
brightest artists the other has to offer.
Since 2003, Culturescapes has
promoted exchanges between artists from a number of European
Focusing on one country per year, Culturescapes curates and
produces a multi-disciplinary festival in which artists from the chosen country
perform in Switzerland. Last year, for the first time, they expanded their
geographic range to include China.
This year, despite harsh criticism,
they set their sights on Israel.
At the beginning of September,
Culturescapes kicked off with Both Upon a Time by Ofira Hennig and Ensemble in
Basel. The festival will continue through December with performances by Israeli
artists such as Batsheva Dance Company, Yossi Berg and Oded Graf, Carolina,
Kutiman and Yasmeen Godder.
In addition to the impressive programming in
Switzerland, the festival has broadened its activities to include a host of
performances in Israel by Swiss artists and co-creations between Swiss and
The Swiss Season in Israel will open with two dance
performances at the Suzanne Dellal Center. The first is Fabrice Mazliah and
Iaonnis Mandafounis’ duet P.A.D., followed by Sideways Rain by the
Alias/Guilherme Botehlo Company.
In P.A.D., Mazliah and Mandafounis
invite the audience to sit on all four sides of the stage. Their duet, which
premiered in 2007, is a look at intimacy between two dancers whose relationship
to one another is unclear. At times, the two seem to be lovers or close friends.
But moments later the energy between the two gifted dancers shifts, painting a
picture of the chilled separation between strangers.
Mandafounis met several years ago while dancing in Europe. The two are former
members of Netherlands Dance Theater, and both currently perform with the
Forsythe Company of Germany.
Sideways Rain by Guilherme Botehlo, a piece
for 15 dancers, premiered in late 2010 in Geneva.
Throughout the course
of the piece, the dancers traverse the stage repeatedly, seeming never to find
what they are looking for. They crawl, walk, run and tumble through the space,
creating a sense of extended time.
Botehlo hails from Brazil, where he
began dancing as a young man.
Drawn to Switzerland by the works of Oscar
Oriaz, Botehlo exchanged sunny beaches for snowcapped mountains. He established
his company Alias in 1994 and has since presented his uniquely physical
choreography around the world.
Other performances to come in the Swiss
Season include the coproduction When You’re Dead, You’re Done by Israeli visual
artist Tchelet Weisstub and Swiss choreographer Tabea Martin. This theater piece
will present the audience with a variety of spaces in which they will view
different scenes put together by the two artists and a string of
Another sure highlight of the festival is the
collaboration between the Basler Madrigalisten and the Israeli Camerata
Jerusalem. The Basler Madrigalisten is a choir of 24 singers with a wide
repertoire. The Israeli Camerata Jerusalem is a chamber orchestra. Together,
they will present Handel’s Messiah in Israel and in
Throughout the course of the Swiss Season in Israel, several
artists will be hosted in residencies around the country. One such residency was
awarded by the Daniela Passal Center in Ein Kerem to Haus Am Green, otherwise
known as the artists Barbara Meyer Cesta and Rudolf Steiner. This initiative,
called The Mamuta Project, provides the artists with everything they need to
produce multi-disciplinary visual art.
Mamuta will also present Kav, an
artistic encounter between Einat Amir who is currently working in Switzerland
and Guy Itzhaki in Israel.
The results will be on display throughout
P.A.D. will run from October 2-4. Sideways Rain runs
October 5 and 6.
For tickets, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il For more
information about Culturescapes, visit www.israel.culturescapes.ch