Dutch festival rejects anti-Israel boycott

A Palestinian dance troupe's attempt to get Israel banned from a Middle East-themed dance festival has backfired.

By NATHAN BURSTEIN
August 28, 2007 09:47
1 minute read.
dutch festival 88 224

dutch festival 88 224. (photo credit: Courtesy of Piras Rubbi)

 
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A Palestinian dance troupe's attempt to get Israel banned from a Middle East-themed dance festival has backfired. Members of the group, El Founoun, informed officials of the Netherlands' Dancing on the Edge Festival that the organizers could either rescind their invitation to the Israelis, or forfeit the participation of the Palestinians. The organizers' response: enjoy yourselves at home. Consequently, the week-long festival, set for December, will go forward without El Founoun and with "Wish Upon a Star," a piece choreographed and performed by Smadar Yaaron, an actress at the Acco Theater Center. The piece will take the stage along with submissions from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Iran, as well as by two Palestinian dance groups not pushing for an anti-Israel boycott. In this festival, a new generation of choreographers from the Middle East region will show works that reflect the issues in the societies where they live and work," festival artistic director Gary Feingold said in a statement released Sunday. "The Dutch audience will be exposed to the creative processes of...performers from different countries, who will themselves be able to draw inspiration from one another." Sponsored by organizations including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dancing on the Edge is scheduled to take place in mid-December in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Groningen. In addition to the dance performances themselves, the festival will include lectures, workshops and public "conversations" with the artists, as well as networking opportunities for the performers. An educational program for local students is also being developed, according to the festival's Web site. Yaaron, a regular invitee to dance festivals Europe, the United States and Asia, performed "Wish Upon a Star" last November in Poland, Switzerland and France. She'll perform the piece September 1 at Tel Aviv's Tmuna Theater.

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