The Calling by Tamar Lebovitz.
(photo credit: TAMAR LAM)
Outside of a small group of local choreographers, few people understand the importance of the annual Curtain Up Festival. To many, it seems as though dance artists are constantly creating works, presenting them in festivals and touring to exotic destinations.
And while that may be true for some, opportunities are won with hard work, grit, enthusiasm and determination, and few offer as significant an exposure palette and budget as Curtain Up.
Founded 27 years ago by the then Ministry of Culture and Sport’s director of dance Nili Cohen, the Curtain Up Festival is one of precious few platforms that support the creation of original Israeli dance works by independent artists. The festival has changed formats and artistic directors several times since its inception; however, its power has endured as the number one springboard for choreographers working outside of a known institution.
Over the years, the festival has hosted and given a leg up to a long list of successful choreographers, among them Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollack, Yasmeen Godder, Niv Shenfeld and Oren Laor and Hillel Kogan.
This is the second year in a row that Itzik Giuli and Hillel Kogan have co-directed the program. The two were presented with ideas for prospective new dance works several months ago, out of which they selected a small number. Those works went straight into the studio and are only now being finished.
The program is broken down into four “curtains,” each of which consists of two or three short works. For the first time ever, this year’s Curtain Up will appear not only in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem but also in Dimona and Kibbutz Ga’aton’s Dance Village.
Curtain 1 features The Chicken Memorial by Michal Samama and The Calling by Tami Leibovits. Samama’s work is a solo, which she will perform.
In this work, Samama broaches the live animal body as in conflict with the immortal, eternal, embalmed memorial. This is Samama’s first appearance in Curtain Up. Returning to the festival, Leibovits presents a quintet for herself, Moshe Shechter Avshalom, Maya Weinberg, Or Avishay and Or Ashkenazi. The piece focuses on group dynamics on a communal journey and the interpersonal hiccups the occur along the way.
Curtain 2 is a boy’s evening. Two duets by two male choreographers with two very different esthetics. The first, Adi Boutrous’s Always Is Here, brings Boutrous and dancer Avshalom Latucha to the stage.
Latucha and Boutrous performed together in the choreographer’s creation for last year’s Curtain Up, together with actress Ahuva Keren.
This year, the two decided to go it alone, to leave theatricality on the side and to focus on the moving body. Sharing the evening will be Andrea Costanza Martini’s SCARABEO, Angles and the Void, danced by the choreographer and dancer Avidan Ben-Giat. This is Martini’s first Curtain Up Festival in the choreographer’s chair. His duet uses a concentrated movement vocabulary to explore notions of objectification, emptiness and emotion on stage.
Curtain 3 consists of two works: Nadar Rosano’s Behind the Mountain and Stav Marin and Merav Dagan’s Come Closer. Rosano’s trio, which will be performed by Stav Struz, Roni Brandsteter and Zuki Ringart, deals with the feeling that a familiar environment has become foreign. This otherness, or disorientation, inspires the dancers to interact in a fresh way, to relate to one another with revived perspective. Marin and Dagan’s Come Closer marks the two childhood friends’ first collaboration. Though their relationship began in a dance studio and has seen both of the women through many creative processes, they had not created together until now. In the piece, Marin and Dagan broach the idea of victim/ perpetrator from a wholly female point of view.
Curtain 4, the fullest of the programs, has three works: Shira Eviatar’s Rising; Sahar Damoni’s Pirgi’in; and Asaf Aharonson’s What’s To Come.
Eviatar’s work is a duet, which she will perform with dancer Anat Amrani. In this meeting of women, two different dance styles and nationalities, Yemenite and Moroccan, come together in a party-like atmosphere.
Damoni’s solo challenges many conventions that she observes in daily life. Her use of music, body, rhythm and movement are deliberate choices, rebellions against a society that the artist views as conservative and old fashioned. Finally, Aharonson’s was inspired by Canadian author Anne Carson’s Eros the Bittersweet. The piece is a solo in which several guests come in and out, moving from one body to five independent entities.
The Curtain Up Festival takes place from November 3 to 19. For more information, visit the Suzanne Dellal Center’s website at www.suzannedellal.org.il ; Jerusalem’s Beit Mazia at www.bmz.org.il; Dimona Theater at www.dimonatheater.com; and the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s site at www.kcdc.co.il.