Curtain Up Dance Festival.
(photo credit: GADI DAGON)
On Sunday morning, a small group of journalists gathered at the Suzanne Dellal Center for a sneak peek at what’s in store at the year’s most highly anticipated festival. Itzik Giuli, the new artistic director of the Ministry of Culture and Sports’ Curtain Up Dance Festival, began by sharing a bit about the process behind what the group was going to see.
“We focused on the question of the contemporary. What is contemporary? What does it mean to be contemporary?” he said.
The 25th annual festival will kick off next week and will run through the end of the month.
Giuli’s direction has brought a breath of fresh air into the event and, along with it, a host of artists who had been left out of the lineup in previous years. The “curtains” are divided into six evenings, one conference and a choreographic laboratory.
Looking over the program, which is divided into curtains, one cannot help but notice the strong presence of female choreographers.
Of the 15 artists that will participate in the event, only three are men. And not only are the creators of the 11 new dance works predominantly women, but so are their dancers.
Curtains One, Two and Three will take place in the main hall of the Suzanne Dellal Center.
Curtain One features the works of Iris Erez and Merav Cohen.
Married couple Ofir Yudilevich and Ayala Frenkel dances Erez’s duet. In this work, Erez explores modern relationships and the effect that technology and social media have on love. Erez uses text, movement and sound to convey an image of lost intimacy.
Cohen’s solo presents a woman dressed in athletic gear executing the same movements over and again. Through this repetition, Cohen finds kinks in the system, which propel her into new cycles of gestures.
Curtain Two is an evening of duets: Bosmat Nossan’s duet for Ayala Frenkel and Shani Garfinkel, and Ido Feder’s piece for Shahar Binyamini and Tamar Shelef.
In Nossan’s piece, Garfinkel’s militaristic walk is countered by Frenkel’s doll-like mechanics.
The dancers, dressed in shoulder armor and shorts, flit around the space attempting to connect to each other.
Feder’s work places Binyamini, bright-eyed and hopeful, in front of a closed curtain. He executes a type of welcome ritual before sneaking back through the fabric onto the stage. When Shelef joins him, it is to the tune of blasting rap in Arabic.
Instead of showing the group a section from their work, Shani Granot and Nevo Romano explained that their dancers were in school. Nine elementary-school students make up the cast of this work, which aims to present children without manipulating them.
Over the past several weeks, Granot and Romano have met with the children on a bi-weekly basis, choreographing the score for the work.
Joining Curtain Three is Tami Leibovitz’s duet for Efrat Nevo and Mika Shertok. Clad in long, apron-like frocks and sneakers, Nevo and Shertok mimic each other’s movement through the space, while a figure in a black leotard and matching Cleopatra wig observes.
Curtain Four, which will take place in Studio Varda, includes works by Michal Samema and Maya Weinberg with Maya M.
In Anat Gregorio’s work, she and Tamar Lamm display the many ways in which hair can move.
Using their bodies as engines, Gregorio and Lamm shake, shimmy and convulse, while their curls cover their faces.
Galit Liss’s presentation begins with a 60something woman lacing up a pair of sneakers. As she runs in circles throughout the space, seven of her peers join her at varying speeds.
Curtain Five will be held in Studio Suzy.
Lilach Livne’s work for Curtain Six is presented as a series of games. Joined by three female performers, Livne will initiate these dance scores in Studio Varda. The performance will span several hours.Curtain Up will take place from November 13 to 23 at the Suzanne Dellal Center, The Jerusalem Theater and the Mazia House of Theater.
For more information, visit ww.suzannedellal.org.il.