Hot Dance Fest 311.
(photo credit: Uri Nevo)
Throughout the course of the year, Israel is visited by hundreds of artists from dozens of countries. Opera divas, famed sculptors, established musicians and acclaimed actors light up our stages with their exotic, otherworldly talents.
In the dance realm, so many foreign ensembles make their way to our small chunk of Earth that you could almost forget there is an uncommonly rich local community churning out revolutionary dance within our very borders. Luckily, the summer months present an opportunity to take stock of the toils of the past school year during the annual Hot Dance Festival at the Suzanne Dellal Center. Comprised almost exclusively of local artists, this happening spans July and August and is a tornado of movement.
For the next two months, almost every night of the week will host a dance performance on one of the SDC’s three stages. In all, more than 60 shows by Israeli artists will be presented, 20 of which are world premieres. The entire range of local choreographers will be represented, from artistic directors of major companies to emerging young dance-makers. Regardless of your personal taste, the plethora of styles and diversity of creations on display during Hot Dance Festival should make any Israeli proud.
Outside of hosting Israelis working locally, this year’s program boasts several performances crafted by Israelis living abroad. One such show is that of Barcelona-based choreographer Sharon Lavi and musician Yaron Engler. The two established Tapelas, an ensemble dedicated to innovation in the tapdance genre, in Spain in 2002 and have been spreading their unique mix of tap, rhythm and music around the world. For his return to Israel, Lavi put together a performance with singer Harel Skaat entitled Shards.
During their work together, Lavi and Skaat developed a dialogue between vocals and the precisely timed percussion created by Lavi’s tap shoes.
Another must-see show is Null by the Vertigo Dance Company. Choreographed by whimsical artistic director Noa Wertheim, Null is an investigation of randomness and its role in our daily lives. For years Wertheim has presented powerful, physical pieces executed by her extremely skilled cast of dancers and collaborators.
Based just one flight of stairs above Vertigo Dance Company’s Jerusalem studio is Amir Kolben’s ensemble, the Kolben Dance Company, which will also present a new evening under the umbrella of Hot Dance. This year, the small team at Kolben was busy with a new children’s production, as well as with Babylon, Kolben’s latest opus. As the title may imply, this work is based on man’s desire to reach the heavens.
For those audience members who enjoy more experimental works, Maria Kong’s Night might well fit the bill. The dynamic new Maria Kong Dancers’ Company has been functioning in Tel Aviv’s industrial district for the past four years.
Operating in a somewhat unusual way, the group has no choreographer. All artistic decisions are made by one or a grouping of the company’s talented dancers.
Their previous works include Fling and Miss Brazil. Boasting costumes by talented fashion designer Yosef, Maria Kong’s Night is sure to be a fabulous event.
Dana Katz’s Danaka Dance Group, just back from two months in North America, will perform Shorts, an evening of short pieces choreographed in Tel Aviv and New York. Following her engagement in Hot Dance, Katz and her company will relocate to New York City.
And, of course, no Israeli festival would be complete without the Batsheva Dance Company. The troupe will close its season with a performances of Bill, Kamuyot and Ohad Naharin’s newest masterpiece, Sadeh 21, which recently premiered at the Israel Festival.
The list of interesting shows goes on and on….For more information about the Hot Dance Festival, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il.