The great exposition

The annual International Exposure festival is one of the reasons dance has become one of Israel’s main cultural exports.

By ORI J. LENKINSKI
December 4, 2014 17:02
3 minute read.
The annual International Exposure festival

Yossi Berg and Oded Graf’s Four Men, Alice, Bach and the Deer dance show.. (photo credit: MATTHIAS CREUTZIGER)

 
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Twenty years ago, the number of Israeli dance creations that had been seen abroad was small. International touring was, at that point, an endeavor enjoyed by only the biggest and most established dance troupes. In the mid-1990s, the interest abroad in local dance and the desire to invite Israeli choreographers to present their work was growing rapidly. Picking up on this trend, Yair Vardi, director of the Suzanne Dellal Center, initiated the annual International Exposure festival. In the years since, dance has become one of Israel’s main exports, largely thanks to the festival.

This weekend, the 2tth edition of the vital platform will overrun Suzanne Dellal’s multiple stages.

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Despite the recent local turmoil, the guest list is overflowing with programmers, curators, journalists and artists from around the world.

In the coming days, these individuals will hunker down to take in 30 dance performances by 36 Israeli artists. This year’s program includes Batsheva Dance Company’s The Hole; Yossi Berg and Oded Graf’s Four Men, Alice, Bach and the Deer; Maria Kong Dancers’ Company’s Stand Up for Your Rights; and Nehara Dance Company’s Draft.

Among this year’s guests is Cathy Levy, executive producer of Canada’s National Arts Center.

Though this is Levy’s first International Exposure, she is well prepared for her visit.

“I know that I’m going to be really busy and that I’m going to be seeing an awful lot of work, which is fantastic,” says Levy. “We’ve brought a lot of Israelis to our season, and I’ve seen others around the world. I’m always looking for discoveries and to reconnect with the artists that we know, as well as people that we don’t know. There are a lot of artists on the list that I recognize but haven’t seen their work.”



Levy’s position affords her the opportunity to invite a wide range of dance works, from intimate, short pieces to large company performances.

“We have four venues, and I can use three of them for dance. I have a 250-seat theater, a 750-seat space and a 2,200-seat theater. We bring about 20 companies a year, Canadian and international. I really have an opportunity through my season programming to look at different variations. For me, it’s about finding artists who speak to me,” she adds.

Last month, the NAC hosted Sharon Eyal’s L-E-V with House.

Following the success of that visit, Levy assured that she would keep a keen eye on Eyal’s presentation of Killer Pig over the weekend.

“I’ve never seen Killer Pig by Eyal’s company, so I am really looking forward to that,” she says.

Though she is open to surprises, Eyal is one of several artists that Levy is anticipating seeing.

“It’s been a few years since I’ve seen Yasmeen Godder’s work, so I am excited about that. I’ve also not seen Vertigo Dance Company in a few years, so it will be great to see them. In terms of new people, I liked what I’ve seen on video of Arkadi Zaides, Yossi Berg and Oded Graf plus I’ve heard a lot of great things about Ella Rothschild and Roy Assaf,” she notes.

From Tel Aviv, Levy will fly to Norway for the Nordic Dance Platform, a similarly jam-packed dance event. And while partaking of so much dance may seem exhausting to many, for Levy it is the icing on the cake of a very rewarding job.

“I love attending events like this. I love dance artists. They work extremely hard because they have to and because they can’t imagine doing something else. I love the immersion in this art form. For me, it’s all about that moment when a light bulb goes off in your head because you see someone doing something truly amazing or new,” she says.

International Exposure will take place from December 3 to 7 at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv. For more information, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il.

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