(photo credit: IAN DOUGLAS)
Though perhaps it’s a bit too soon to tell, there is a strong sense that the past few years have forever changed the Israeli dance community.
From a scene obsessed with obscenely deep pliés and runway-worthy attitude, the local dance pack has recently taken interest in other aspects, origins and approaches to live performance.
There have been a number of key influences that have motivated this shift. For one, Itzik Giuli’s appointment as artistic director of both the Israel Festival and Curtain Up Festival in one year brought on a paradigm adjustment to the type of dance being presented on the main stage. And just one step further off the beaten path, the establishment and growth of the Diver Festival has offered an entry point for local and international artists into the Tel Aviv community that had not gained access in the past.
This year, Diver’s third, is centered on the concept of trad(e)ition. As Divers directors Moshe Avshalom Shechter and Ido Feder write on the Diver website, trad(e)ition is “a single concept composed of two: trade & tradition; it is the lens through which we think of this year’s Diver Festival.
The concept reveals the ‘economy of tradition’ in which tradition is no longer a static, ready-made identity but rather a dynamic exchange market, a performance of the manifold of items that make up our lives in the dawn of this millennium. It is a movement in an infinite chain of cultural associations in which we are sometimes lost, sometimes surprisingly free.”
As the focus of the festival is on roots, it is fitting that a large portion of the program will take place at the Inbal Dance Theater, an establishment that Diver perceives as the embodiment of trad(e)ition.
The festival will span three weekends in September.
The first weekend will kick off with an event called Black/White Art, which will feature lectures by journalist and designer Ortal Ben-Dayan and dance critic Shir Hacham. Ben-Dayan’s lecture, “The Kleptomania of the White Man,” will explore the appropriation of ethnic arts to mainstream society. Hacham will follow with a look back at the Inbal Dance Theater’s trajectory, from a dance company to an ethnic center and back. The lectures will be followed by the premiere of choreographer Mor Shani’s new commission for the Inbal Dance Theater, Simple Dance.
Also to take place on the first weekend are a panel discussion with participants of the annual blind date dance event Project 48, initiated and directed by Dana Ruttenberg, and the opening of acclaimed dance photographer Gadi Dagon’s exhibition “Never Forget – Gadi Dagon’s Rite of Spring.” Germanbased Uri Turkenich will present the Israeli premiere of I Love My Dancers.
Shira Eviatar and the Inbal Dance Theater will show a joint evening of a new work by Eviatar, Body Mandala; and two works, Watbina and Ra’ala, from Inbal founder Sara Levi-Tanai’s repertoire.
The second weekend of Diver will bring to the stage three productions by four strong artists. The first, created by veteran artist Orly Portal, features two works. Swiria takes the audience on a journey from Tel Aviv to Portal’s ancestral home of Essaouira, Morocco.
Portal shares the difficulties she encountered in trying to fit herself into the Russian mold of dance technique, mentioning her sloping shoulders as one of many hurdles. The second work, Rabia, was inspired by 13th-century Sufi poet El-Rumi.
Next, Yasmeen Godder will premiere her much-anticipated new work, Common Emotions. Created over the past year in Israel and abroad, Common Emotions challenges the physical and emotional spaces delineated by live performance. During the piece, audience members are welcome, if not advised, to explore the performance space freely, coming into contact with the six performers in intimate settings.
At the end of weekend two, Talia de Vries, Dan Weinstein and Musica Nova will present Walk. In this piece, 10 performers – five musicians and five dancers – will enact scores by experimental musicians Luc Ferrari and Michael Parsons.
The third and final weekend of Diver 2016 will host premieres by local choreographers Iris Erez, Anat Danieli, Ariel Cohen with Nevo Romano; and Shani Granot and Moran Itzhaky Abergel with Kim Teitelbaum. The crown jewel of this year’s program and final event will introduce acclaimed Canadian soloist Dana Michel to the Israeli crowd. For the past several years, Michel has toured the globe with her work Yellow Towel. After hitting nearly every major and fringe festival in Europe, North America and Canada, Michel will arrive at Diver for her first visit to Israel.The Diver Festival will take place from September 7 to 24 in Tel Aviv. For more information: www.diverfestival.com.