Cool competitors

The Shades of Dance Choreography Competition presents works by 16 choreographers in five evenings

artists in Shades of Dance Choreography Competition (photo credit: Gadi Dagon)
artists in Shades of Dance Choreography Competition
(photo credit: Gadi Dagon)
As far as I can tell, the difference between art and sport is the element of competition.
Though there are a few gray areas such as figure skating, where performance and athleticism are interwoven, generally speaking, artists do not often enter into direct competition with one another. In the dance community, there are a few small exceptions to this rule. For one, there are break-dancing battles wherein two practitioners square off, pulling out their fanciest moves to wow each other and win the hearts of their audiences. Another example is the choreography competition.
In Israel, one such event exists. It is called the Shades of Dance Choreography Competition, and it takes place once every two years.
Established in Ramle in 1984, Shades of Dance was a forum for emerging choreographers to showcase their work in front of a jury that awarded a cash prize to the winners. After several relocations and changes of artistic directors, the festival found a home in the Suzanne Dellal Center, where it has become one of the most highly anticipated dance happenings. Though the name has remained the same, there are no large checks at stake in Shades of Dance, but rather a precious opportunity to perform on Israel’s most respected dance stage.
This September, Shades of Dance will present 16 choreographers over the course of five evenings. Curated for the first time by artistic director and founder of the Clipa Theater Idit Herman, the works have been divided into five programs, each one strung together by a loose theme.
Herman admits that this collage of current dance creations is a clear reflection of her taste and opinion as a creative artist herself. Since selecting her chosen performances, Herman has guided each of the 16 presenters through their creative processes, offering constructive advice and assisting with the questions that arose in and out of the studio.
Though it is impossible to say this festival sums up the milieu in Israeli dance, it is a great indicator of what is being done this year.
The five nights of Shades of Dance are set up as follows: Program A: Pure Dance will unveil pieces that deal with physicality, composition and energy. With this evening, Herman has identified a resurgence of so-called dancy-dance, which draws on modern and neoclassical vocabularies to express new ideas in the dance field. The artists presenting new works in this program are Gil Carlos Harush, Smadar Goshen and Sharon Vaisoser.
Program B: Dreaming Big focuses on choreographers who cannot be classified by any known category.
Whether their pieces are performance art, theater, dance or a combination of those three elements and many more, these works widen the spectrum of what is conventionally expected of a dance performance. Artists presenting in this evening are Idan Yoav, Ran Ben- Dror, Lee Meir and Yuval Goldstein.
Program C: The Future is Now is centered on performance art and avant-garde. Each of the three pieces in this program pushes the boundaries and limitations of the body with new, challenging movements that are not necessarily drawn from dance technique. Meital Balarno, Moran Yitzchaki Abargil and Lilach Livne are the three women whose creations make up this evening’s stimulating event.
Program D: The Forbidden Fruit deals with trash, kitsch, sex, ritual and all the secret pleasures or fascinations we attempt to keep hidden from the public eye. Artists presenting in this exciting evening are Amit Zamir, Yoni Sutchi and Meirav Cohen.
Program E: Strange Creature presents the notion of the artist as an exposed individual. In this evening, the works will focus on the creative process, the human being on stage and the artist’s connection to his or her audience. Taking part in this intimate evening are the works of Liron Ozeri, Ido Batash and Artur Astman.

Shades of Dance will take place from September 7-10 at the Suzanne Dellal Center. For tickets or more information, visit