Dance festival loses funding

Since 1995, the Suzanne Dellal Center has received support from the Foreign Affairs Ministry to host the event

By ORI J. LENKINSKI
July 15, 2019 22:03
1 minute read.
Navdhara India Dance Theater performs Agni as part of Suzanne Dellal Center’s ‘Tel Aviv Dance’ Festi

Navdhara India Dance Theater performs Agni as part of Suzanne Dellal Center’s ‘Tel Aviv Dance’ Festival. (photo credit: ROY CAMPBELL-MOORE)

The Suzanne Dellal Center’s annual International Exposure Festival is in danger of extinction following the withdrawal of funding from the Foreign Ministry.

Last week, center artistic director Yair Vardi put out a statement informing artists, presenters and audience members that the festival was at risk.

Since 1995, the center has received support from the Foreign Affairs Ministry to host the event, the center’s annual platform for contemporary dance in Israel. International artistic directors, presenters and curators of contemporary dance and performance attend the festival to experience Israel’s rich dance landscape.

Thanks to Exposure, scores of local artists have toured in places near and far, offering a wide range of styles and voices to audiences all over the world. Many Israelis have used the festival’s platform as a stepping stone to enter the international arts scenes, to supplement their local earnings and to build a name for themselves abroad.

However, this year, the ministry informed key officials in the dance, theater and music sectors that its funding had been pulled in favor of other efforts, not necessarily in the cultural sphere. This served as a major blow to local artists, many of whom rely on various Exposure Festivals to make contact with foreign arts presenters.

“This is a painful blow for Israeli creation throughout the world, one that cannot be taken in silence and calm. In our opinion, this is a national disaster whose consequences will be felt for years to come,” wrote Vardi.

In response, the ministry commented, “The Exposures are our flagship project and ones of great pride. Sadly, the harsh cutbacks to the ministry’s budget do not leave money for our most important activities. Sad.”

The Murphy’s-Law lining to this gray cloud is that after three years of renovations, the Suzanne Dellal Center has finally reopened, new and improved. Last year’s International Exposure Festival was adjusted due to a late finish of the renovations. Now, with the center boasting refurbished studios and theaters and the brand new, expansive Zehava and Jack Dellal Studio, Exposure’s fate hangs in the balance. One can only hope that funds will be found to bring the center’s loyal guests back to see it, along with local dance, in all its glory.


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