The cast of ‘Soul Doctor’ on stage.
(photo credit: SIMON HALLSTORM)
COME SPRING, and the Israel Festival is upon us, burgeoning with a potpourri of new offerings in music, dance, theater and art. This year – the 57th – is no exception. Except, perhaps, that the emphasis, in this 70th year of the State, is on Israeli artists.“We wanted to show the very best of the new Israeli artists and performers,” Yitzhak Guili, the artistic director of the festival tells The Jerusalem Report. “And there is a lot to choose from. We have for example three world premieres of dance – the Inbal Dance Theater, whose founder, Sarah Levi-Tanai, pioneered a fusion of the folk tradition of Yemenite dance with a modernist flavor. Here, the group presents, “While the Fireflies Disappear,” which similarly balances a vanishing dance tradition with an exploration of new possibilities emerging from those same traditions. Then a male duo, Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor, present a new adaptation of “The Third Dance” created by another Israeli couple, Liat Dror and Nir Ben-Gal. Perhaps the most innovative of these premiers will be supplied by the Batsheva Dance Company – probably the most highly regarded Israeli terpsichorian group – who team up with the avant-garde Portuguese choreographer Marlene Monteiro Freitas in a piece called “Canine Juanatre 3,” which promises to be a unique fusion of Lego figurines and scenes from a rowdy circus. The general idea is that young choreographers are placing themselves at the feet of great choreographers from the recent past and creating something new. A fascinating combination of technology and humanity is to be found in Amit Drori’s “Monkeys.” Five years in the preparation, all the puppets have been constructed by hand. The piece pitches three people and nine monkey robots in a dance that challenges conventional reality, as the “monkeys” demonstrate human characteristics.