Intimacy with icons

When opening the call for applications to the Intimadance Festival, the flagship dance event of Tel Aviv’s Tmuna Theater, new artistic directors Renana Raz and Ofer Amram led with this concept.

June 20, 2019 15:17
3 minute read.
Intimacy with icons

ORI LENKINSKI ‘The Suit’. (photo credit: YAIR MEYUHAS)


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In the dictionary, there are two definitions for the word “icon.” The first relates to Jesus Christ and the religious and artistic representations of his likeness over centuries. The second reads, “a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration.” What is specific to icons in our society and is true for Jesus Christ (perhaps the first icon) is that every person has their own perception of and connection to said icon. Icons are broadly known and yet they demand a point of contact, a perspective or narrative that is unique to each beholder.

When opening the call for applications to this year’s Intimadance Festival, the flagship dance event of Tel Aviv’s Tmuna Theater, new artistic directors Renana Raz and Ofer Amram led with this concept. After all, 10 years have passed since the death of dance’s great icon, Pina Bausch, as well as international mega-icon Michael Jackson. Raz and Amram asked choreographers to consider what place icons occupy in their own lives and how they could be brought to the stage. Next week, the 20th edition of this iconic Israeli festival will open and will present thirteen new works relating to icons, iconization and iconography.
The program is divided into four events; three mixed programs and one full evening. Each work looks at a different person, object, trend or action.

Icon 1 consists of four works: Tone Deaf by Rachel Erdos, Cart by Tami Itzhaki, 60,000 Gra(ha)ms by Dana Ruttenberg and Lovemissneeddead by Or Marin and Oran Nahum. Erdos’ Tone Deaf looks at the iconic pastime of karaoke, at the desire to sing even when one isn’t blessed with a good voice and the choreography of amateur performance. In Itzhaki’s Cart, she blends together the various icons that motivate and inspire her movement language. Moshe Feldenkrais and Rabbi Nahman intertwine to tell a story of dance woven with Judaism. 60,000 Gra(ha)ms is both an exploration of Martha Graham and Ruttenberg’s return to the stage after many, many years. By piecing together an intricate puzzle of movements choreographed by Graham, Ruttenberg presents a perception of iconic dynamics.

Icon 2 is also a three-part program consisting of The Suit by yours truly, Princess by Geva Zaibert and Throne by Dana Hafouta.
The Suit is an homage to Jackie Kennedy, choreographed and performed by me (Ori Lenkinski). When met with the call to applications, the word “icon” meant one thing to me and that was Jackie. Over the past six months, I have researched her, thought about her and looked at countless images and videos of the famed first lady. This solo is an attempt to channel Kennedy and to bring her, somehow, into present day.

Princess is Zaibert’s satirical and earnest take on the Disney princess. In this group work, Zaibert plays with notions of gender, fantasy and the lasting influence of the silver screen on our lives.

In Throne, Hafouta takes on the iconization of orientalism. By challenging cultural appropriation of cultural icons, Hafouta calls to question the relevance and authenticity of icons altogether.

In Icon 3, Carmel Ben Asher and Zuki Ringart will present an homage to renowned teacher and choreographer Chava Feingold. Evening returns to Feingold’s creations and practice with a critical and admiring eye.

Though there has been much conflict surrounding Michael Jackson’s memory of late, no amount of scandal could erase the thousands of times Michal Gil watched the music video for “Thriller.” As a girl, she learned each step, each nuance and word of the iconic video. Gil’s Thriller is an opportunity for her to revisit that period and the video that mesmerized her.

In Fanatic, Michal Herman and Rotem Volk look at the notion of fans. Who are groupies? Where do they come from and why do they do what they do?

In Heavily Ever After, choreographer Maayan Liebman-Sharon and video artist Yaara Nirel create a duet of video and movement that explores the implications of the phrase “happily ever after”.

Or Marin and Oran Nahum will present Lovemissneeddead, a large group work in the bar of Tmuna Theater, as part of each Icon program.

Another special event is Ido Feder and Michal Samama’s Hands Up, which will boast nine dancers in a full evening production.
Lighting designer Yoav Barel will present a light and sound installation entitled Wail, a memorial to iconic Israeli singer Ahuva Ozeri.
And finally, Intimadance has teamed up with event producers Kok Shok, who will host a party inspired by icons.

Intimadance will take place on June 26-29. For more information, visit

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