Summer heats up the stages of Tel Aviv’s Suzanne Dellal Center.

flamenco 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
flamenco 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Every year around the end of June, we are hit with the first real heat wave of the summer. This blast of blazing days is a signal to all Israelis to start seeking out indoor shelter, preferably of the air-conditioned variety. At this very point in the year, the Suzanne Dellal Center unleashes their Hot Dance Festival, which begins just as the July sun becomes unbearable and runs until the days start to cool off at the end of August.
This year, the first ten days of the festival are devoted to new dance from Spain. Madridanza is a collaboration between the Suzanne Dellal Center, the Cervantes Institute, the Spanish Embassy, the community of Madrid and the Ministry of Culture in Spain. Three troupes will make their way to Israel to perform their take on Spanish dance alongside local Flamenco artists. Company Antonio Najarro, the New Spanish Ballet and Rojas and Rodrigez will join Israeli performers Michal Natan, Sylvia Duran and others.
Spanish dance is an increasingly popular international style. Each year, more children choose Flamenco classes for after-school activity and more theaters present Spanish programs. While Flamenco and Spanish dance are being embraced by artists the world over, Madrid remains the center of innovation and creativity in the field.
Company Antonio Najarro will open the festival with three performances of Najarro’s hit show Jazzing Flamenco. Najarro has worn many hats in creating this production. He explained that one of the greatest pleasures of his work as artistic director of the company is being able to manage all the small details involved in bringing a show from the studio to the stage. In a recent interview he explained, “I enjoy everything. When I create a show, I compose the music with the composer. I love to create the costumes: all the designs are mine. I love to be with my dancers. I love to dance also. When it’s your own work, your own job, it’s like your project is your child. I like to take care of everything.”
Najarro visited Israel for the first time eight years ago with the Spanish National Ballet, where he was a soloist. Since his inaugural visit to the Middle East, Najarro left the Spanish National Ballet in order to form his first company, Talent Danza with fellow choreographer Pascal Goana. In 2004, he took over full artistic leadership of the troupe, renaming it Company Antonio Najarro. The company has toured internationally and has become a major name in Madrid in recent years.
Najarro is certainly one of the most inventive choreographers in theSpanish dance community. His style blends Flamenco with classic Spanishdance, ballet, contemporary and jazz. Najarro explained, “in my shows Ilike to show the quality and elegance of Spanish classic dance style.We do Flamenco but my work is very open to different styles of Spanishdance. Its not only Flamenco, we use a lot of ballet. All my dancersare prepared in many styles of dance. I want to show the audience thatthis style of dance is very innovative and new. It’s not outdated. Iwant to show the public that I’m a very open choreographer.”
Najarro’s shows are truly exhilarating spectacles. His dancers areskilled and charismatic. Attention to detail shows through clearly inthe production value of each opus. “Quality is the definition of myshow,” he boasted. And while he is joined on stage by some of Spain’sfinest dancers and musicians, Najarro is clearly the star. He is apowerful and mystifying performer.
“The stage is the place where I can show who I am inside, where I canexpress all of my feelings. I feel it’s my territory. The stage is mylife and I love it,” he said.
Company Antonio Najarro will perform at the Suzanne DellalCenter on July 1,2 and 3. For tickets, call 03-510-5656 or visit