A fall flurry of dancers

This year’s Tel Aviv Dance Festival features an impressive array of international avant-garde dance groups

goya311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
October is an exciting time for dance lovers.
The Hot Dance Festival finished in August, holidays engulfed September, and just when things look like they may be returning to normal, Tel Aviv Dance steps onto the scene. In the summer, we saw hundreds of performances billed as “the best of Israeli dance” on the stages of The Suzanne Dellal Center (SDC). Now, with cool air heading our way, the Tel Aviv Dance Festival has upped the ante, taking over both Suzanne Dellal and the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center.
Every year Yair Vardi, artistic director of SDC, and Chana Munitz, director of The Israeli Opera, select their favorites of international dance. This festival was once dedicated solely to European artists; however, several years ago the borders were breached and Tel Aviv Dance expanded to include Asian and American companies as well.
This year’s line-up is very exciting.
The festivities begin on October 4 and continue until the end of the month. Twelve companies from nine countries present a total of 36 performances on two of Israel’s most prestigious stages.
Here are a just few of the programs that should not be missed.
Sutra by Sidi Larbi Cherkouai is a must-see. Half Belgian and half Moroccan, the choreographer is a master of set design and atmosphere. His work is as physically thrilling as it is psychologically intriguing. For Sutra, he enlisted British artist Antony Gormley and Polish composer Szymon Brzoska, as well as a group of Shaolin monks. To create this piece, he traveled to the Shaolin Temple in China, where he studied the intricate movements used by the monks in their unique brand of martial arts. He then added wooden boxes, designed by Gormley. Throughout the piece, he and the monks lie inside the boxes, stand on top of them, tilt and spin them. The effect is, in a word, stunning.
Sidi Larbi Cherkouai will present another piece during the festival entitled Eastman vzw, which is performed by his company of dancers.
Another stellar performance is Carmen by South African choreographer Dada Masilo. Masilo is a star in the dynamic Johannesburg dance community. At 25 years of age, Masilo has already created several successful pieces, including her interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, called Umfula Wa Ma Dada. The piece includes 12 dancers, including Masilo.
Finally, enjoying home advantage is the premiere of the Maria Kong Dance Company’s Miss Brazil. The program is separated into two parts: Miss by the four members of the company and Brazil by guest choreographer Idan Cohen. Cohen has been a freelance choreographer since he left The Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. After spending several months in the US working in residence at a university in Massachusetts, he returned to the studio to create Brazil.
Since their debut two years ago, the company has been slow to offer a “sophomore” piece. Their first work, Fling, choreographed and danced by Yaara Moses, Anderson Braz, Talia Landa and Leo Lazarus, was a success. Miss will be performed by the same quartet, while Brazil includes several guest dancers.
If you have not yet seen Bill by Sharon Eyal of the Batsheva Dance Company, it will also be performed at the festival.
For more information and tickets, visit www.suzannedellal.co.il or www.israel-opera.co.il