Showing their potential

The Illustrations program offers dancers the opportunity to choreograph and perform their own work.

By ORI J. LENKINSKI
May 6, 2011 16:21
3 minute read.
Dancer in action

dancer 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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If you look at the resumes of famous choreographers, you will find that almost every one of them danced for a major company at some point.

Paul Taylor was a star in Martha Graham’s troupe, Alvin Ailey was inspired to create during his time in Lester Horton’s company; and Israel’s Inbal Pinto began her shimmering career under the wing of Ohad Naharin. This is not to say that all dancers can become great choreographers or that all choreographers were awe-inspiring dancers. However, there is certainly a connection between time spent in proximity to a great artist and the art one produces oneself.

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Eight years ago, the directors of the Batsheva Dance Company became curious about the potential talents of the people who spend their days and often nights sweating in their studios and decided to see if there were any up-and-coming choreographers in their midst. They were confident that the experience of creating would be both beneficial to the dancers and interesting for the audience to watch.

The result was the first Dancers Create evening, which was curated and produced by the youngest and freshest of Batsheva’s dancers: the members of the Ensemble or second company. The work was varied and showed clear influences from both inside and outside the troupe’s walls.

In truth, Batsheva did not invent this idea; rather, they adopted it from other major companies around the world that had also taken notice of the choreographic juices flowing through the veins of their dancers. It was immediately incorporated into the annual activities of the immense group and has been a yearly event the dancers and fans look forward to.

This year, 12 new pieces are to be premiered during Illustrations, which kicked off last night and will run throughout the weekend. The pieces are divided into two programs: Illustrations A and Illustrations B, each of which will be presented twice in the Varda Studio in the Suzanne Dellal Center. Members of the Ensemble made 11 of the works, with one piece by company member Ariel Freedman.

The Ensemble members that will present works are Bret Easterling, Olivia Ancona, Gon Biran, Omri Drumlevich, Eduard Turrul, Nitsan Margaliot, Stav Struz, Lotem Regev, Or Schraiber, Maya Tamir and Annie Rigney.



In addition to giving the dancers an opportunity to choreograph, Lotem Regev and Omri Drumlevich were offered the chance to don producers’ hats. As this event is artistically autonomous from Batsheva, Regev and Drumlevich were left to make executive decisions about how the evening would be put together. Drumlevich explained that the experience of creating alongside his fellow dancers was moving for him.

Though they had met only a few months prior, the dancers worked easily together, supporting one another and offering helpful criticism when needed.

The Ensemble members opted to bring in a new branch of collaborators for this year’s evening.

They invited the students of Studio 6B’s Fashion Design Department to enhance their movement with breathtaking costumes. Led by director Ido Recanati, these students brought their knowledge of clothing construction to the table. This addition to the program strengthens the connection that already exists between the Batsheva Dance Company and the local fashion community.

Though it is difficult to say where an artist receives his or her talent from, it certainly seems that Batsheva imparts to their dancers useful skills when it comes to choreography and composition.

Many former dancers of the company have gone on to succeed as independent choreographers. At present, Hofesh Shechter, who was in the Ensemble for two years, is a major presence in the European dance community, maintaining a troupe of 12 internationally acclaimed performers. Andrea Miller, whose first creation was seen in the 2005 Dancers Create evening, is one of New York City’s most promising young choreographers. Her company, Gallim Dance, recently performed in Siberia and continues to wow their audiences back home. It is almost certain that one of these 12 talented young individuals will be the next to make an imprint in the dance world.

Illustrations will run today and tomorrow. For tickets, visit www.batsheva.co.il or call (03) 517-1471.

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