A woman's world

This week, the program of The Suzanne Dellal Center's Maholohet Festival is devoted almost entirely to female choreographers.

rina schenfeld 88 (photo credit: )
rina schenfeld 88
(photo credit: )
In the words of James Brown, "this is a man's world, but it wouldn't be nothing without a woman or a girl." This statement rings true for many fields - including dance. It seems that it is a man's world. The great choreographers of past and present, excluding a handful of extraordinary women like Pina Bausch and Martha Graham, are men. Ohad Naharin, Jiri Kylian, Alvin Ailey, Mats Ek and Wim Vandekeybus are just a few examples of such successful gentlemen. However, the ladies who create dance should not be ignored. And, of course, they will not be in these pages. This week, the program of The Suzanne Dellal Center's Maholohet Festival is devoted almost entirely to female choreographers. The festivities will begin Saturday night at Teatron Inbal with Hebrew Labor by the Renana Raz Dance Group. The evening consists of two works by Raz, We Have Been Called To Go and Do and Redo, which both deal with Israeli life and culture. Raz began her career as an independent choreographer several years ago, performing at The Curtain Up Festival and The Shades Of Dance Choreography Competition. She won audiences over with her perceptive portrayal of Israeli symbolism and iconography. More recently, Raz has been commissioned to set works on the former Muza Dance Company and Noa Dar Dance Company. While Raz's roots are in the fringe dance scene, she has become known as one of the most promising young choreographers in Israel today. Continuing with the feminine mojo, Saturday night's main stage is a meeting of three Tel Avivian ladies entitled City Girls. Choreographers Maya Stern of Ensemble Maya and Tomer, Michal Herman and Odelya Kuperberg come together to present their individual interpretations of life in the big city. The works Olympia by Stern, Hunger by Herman and From Three Comes One by Kuperberg each paint a picture of how an urban environment affects us. Loneliness, adventure, bewilderment and fear are just a few of the emotions to be addressed by these metropolitan mademoiselles. While the three pieces are different from one another in many ways, there is a shared language that connects them all. Perhaps the lady most fitting to participate in a woman's week is Rina Schenfeld. Performing her new work Dance Me To The End Of Love is the mother of the Israeli dance scene. A former member of Batsheva Dance Company, Schenfeld has been frequenting Israeli stages since the 1960s. While most dancers retire from performing after a certain age, Schenfeld continues to entrance audiences with her imaginative and eccentric dances. In her new work, which premiers on Wednesday and Thursday, Schenfeld brings the melancholic poetry of Leonard Cohen's songs to the stage anew, and in Hebrew. Eran Tzur, Daniel Solomon, Ivri Lider, Avigail Rose, Shila Ferber and Coby Maydan serenade the audience with translated lyrics from some of Cohen's most famous hymns. Dance Me To The End of Love, danced by Schenfeld and her company, is a multimedia affair. For the past year, Schenfeld has been recording herself in all kinds of settings, her home, the Dead Sea, playing with her cat and others. These videos are the backdrop to the live dance, which she has constructed. After many years of solos, Schenfeld decided to branch out and include a young male dancer in this new piece. A woman's take on our turbulent country, three chic urbanites interpretation of their surroundings and a founding member of Israel's dance community's experiences of the past year. This week's performances promise to empower women and men alike to create, explore, live, feel and think. For all information visit www.suzannedellal.org.il or call (03) 510-5656 or see page 20.