Down with a roll

Unofficially, Curtain Up is considered the most desirable and prestigious dance event of the year.

If you look up the biography of any successful choreographer in Israel, you'll almost always encounter the Curtain Up Festival. It has become the stamp that emerging choreographers strive to put on their performance passports. Noa Dar, Inbal Pinto and Yasmin Godder each took the step from fringe to famous with the help of this festival. Every year, beginning in the summer months, Israel's dance makers put together the best of their newest ideas and attempt to become part of the Curtain Up Festival's exclusive list. For the next two weeks, the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv and The Lab in Jerusalem host those works that won the attention of the festival's staff and they represent the best of this year's new dance pieces. Presented over the course of four evenings, Curtain Up includes nine world premieres with over forty dancers. Unofficially, it is considered the most desirable and prestigious dance event of the year. Each work is performed twice in Tel Aviv and once in Jerusalem. To kick off the festivities, the Inbal Pinto Dance Company is set to perform their world-renowned production Shaker on Wednesday night. Please, allow me to break down the four evenings. Evening number one consists of works by Michael Getman and Curtain Up veteran Maya Levi. Getman's piece, Monday, is a duet danced by Eldad Ben Sasson and Yaara Dolev, co-artistic director of Tel Aviv Dance Company. This is Getman's first time choreographing for the festival. Maya Levi will show her new work ssfgdeggee, a trio danced by Lazaro Godoy, Ran Ben Dror and Michal Agasi. Levi, a resident of Jerusalem, is the curator for The Zirat Mahol Festival at The Lab. Since performing in Curtain Up last year, Levi has appeared in festivals around the world. Evening number two brings us Rachel Erdos and Niv Shenfeld. Erdos is another Curtain Up first timer. Last year, after having taken part in The Shades of Dance Choreography Competition in Tel Aviv, Erdos' duet Alma won first prize in the Aarhaus International Choreography Competition. For this festival, Erdos has choreographed a trio entitled Inside it's Raining. Joining her is Niv Shenfeld with the quartet Post Martha. A fun fact about this work is that Ronit Ziv, who has presented her own creations at this very festival, performs here as part of Shenfeld's cast of dancers. Evening number three's works are by two dynamic duos, Sahar Azimi with Odelya Kuperberg and Yossi Berg with Oded Graf. Reversi by Azimi and Kuperberg explores the concept of two simultaneous pieces taking place on one stage. Azimi and Kuperberg's four dancers literally fight to stay in the limelight during this work. Bloody Disco by Graf and Berg is another piece for four dancers, which attempts to break the mundane routine of everyday life. Berg and Graf sought to find a moving language with which to connect genuinely and authentically in this piece. Finally, evening number four contains three works. Tomer Sharabi, Maya Shtern and Hillel Kagan, who have all presented previously as part of this festival, return to the stage. Sharabi and Shtern have been working together for years and only this year have decided to create independently of each other. Sharabi presents Monk, a piece for three men and one woman. Shtern shows The Black Day, danced by three women. Kagan shows his new solo Everything, in which he performs. In short, if you are interested in checking out the newest dances "hot off the press," then this year's Curtain Up Festival is just the right place to be. In Tel Aviv from December 3-13, for tickets call (03) 510-5656. In Jerusalem from December 14-18, for tickets call (02) 629-2000.