Dance to the future

VDance promises to let you in on one of the art world's newest hot topics - the marriage of dance and film.

vdance 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
vdance 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
When I was a curator in New York City, I often sat around with my fellow Galapagos Art Space staff members to puzzle over the question, "what do audiences want?" Invariably, we came up with the same answer - something new. Bringing that sought-after, new thing to Israeli audiences this week is VDance International Dance Video Festival. Initiated three years ago by director Avi Feldman, VDance's mission is to explore the emerging multimedia art form that is dance film. Taking place at Tel Aviv's Cinematheque, this three-day event offers a rare opportunity for dance fans, film buffs, music lovers and culturally hip types to get together and enjoy some beautiful, quirky and experimental films. Reaching out to the far corners of the world, this year's festival brings audiences a diverse tasting menu of dance film. Twenty programs have been prepared by guest curators in Israel, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and America, including one international and several Israeli premiere screenings. Also, there is a competition of this year's most outstanding Israeli dance films, from which one artist will be awarded a significant financial grant. In recognition of the The Polish Year In Israel, a collaborative work between three Polish and three Israeli artists created over the past half-year in Poland and Israel is to be screened. This year's VDance offers a most expansive and exciting program made particularly so due to the guest curators participating this year. Austrian film experts Sixpackfilm bring us the best of their country. Curator Manuel Scheiwiller has put together a collection of films from the Screendance Basel Film Festival in Switzerland. Fresh works from Berlin come to us via the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein Gallery, where director Avi Feldman has spent the last year in artistic residency. Thanks to an association with Biennial Performa 07, two programs dedicated to the work and subsequent influence of the groundbreaking Judson Dance Theater from New York City will be shown. The Deutsches Tanzarchiv Koln of Germany brings two programs providing a comprehensive overview of the best of international video dance, including a piece by dance master William Forsythe. Opening the festival is the first Israeli screening of acclaimed director Lloyd Newsom's amazing film The Cost of Living. Adapted from a live performance of London's DV8 Physical Theater, this film is a breathtaking commentary on beauty and perfection, highlighted by the physical disability of lead dancer Jose Maria Alves (he has no legs). The film is satirical and delicate, moving and engaging and has become one of the most viewed and loved dance films ever made. Other films making their Israeli debut are Amelia by Edourd Lock of La La La Human Steps from Montreal and French director Pierre Coulibeuf's new film Magnetic Cinema. VDance received close to two hundred independent submissions this year, half of which were from international sources and the other half from Israel. The latter half was reduced to just two highly anticipated Israeli competition programs representing a range of well-known choreographers such as Noa Dar and Ronit Ziv as well as emerging dance and video artists such as Tal Gravinsky and Sirah Foighel. Nineteen films, to be screened at 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday nights, will be judged by a committee of experts. And being that Israel is one of the leaders of the international dance world, it is not unreasonable to expect that the dance films hailing from the land of milk and honey will be in line with the country's cutting-edge reputation. Each program in this weekend's rich melange of dance film fun has its own draw. So, be sure to grab hold of one of VDance's hot pink programs, you can't miss them, and pick out the ones that appeal to you most. And regardless of which programs you choose to see, VDance promises to let you in on one of the art world's newest hot topics - the marriage of dance and film. VDance runs from June 12 to 14 at Tel Aviv's Cinematheque at 2 Sprinzak St. For more information visit;