Get on your feet!

In his one-man show, Yoiv Bartel serenades the audience with jokes, choreographies and deeply personal tales

Yoiv Bartel311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Yoiv Bartel311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Eitan Harari is a folk dance instructor who believes in you. He believes that you, sitting in the second row, you are a dancer. Even if you think you can’t move, he sees the prancer in you; he knows you can do it. For that reason, he has come out tonight to teach you a few steps, show you his stuff and have a great time.
In his one-man show at Teatron Hasimta, actor Yoav Bartel, i.e. Eitan Harari, serenaded the audience with his jokes, choreographies and deeply personal tales. The Dance Instructor is a moving, painfully poignant piece, which walks the fine line between tragedy and comedy brilliantly.
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The show premiered last month in the small theater in old Jaffa. Sitting on three sides of the stage, the audience unknowingly played the role of dancers coming to a folk dance event. Bartel began by informing the crowd that by the end of the night, each and every one of them will be on their feet, dancing. Nervous glances were exchanged. “I don’t want to dance,” said one audience member.
In the end, Bartel kept his promise.
Every single person in the theater, aside from Bartel’s partner in crime, choreographer Abigail Rubin, danced.
But what took place in between the promise and its fulfillment was the really interesting bit.
At first Bartel appeared peachy and perhaps and tad neurotic. He regaled the audience with triumphant tales of dances he had created, sessions he led and his overall success in the folk dance scene. He explained that he is in high demand: that he receives calls from all over Israel to spice up people’s lives.
He called for audience participation, enlisting four volunteers from the crowd. The remaining viewers cheered them on loudly as Bartel taught them steps, took them on promenades around his humble stage and complimented them on their poise and groove.
As his monologue progressed, a hidden sadness became blatantly noticeable. Bartel transitioned, in spite of himself, into stories of the army. And by the end of the sixty-minute show, he had exposed the most horrifying, shameful moments of his life. There is a happy ending, or at least there seemed to be. As the piece came to a close, the audience was beckoned to stand and execute a selection of moves Bartel had taught during the piece. Upbeat music played as the entertainer made his dramatic exit.
Rubin and Bartel are life partners. In 2008, they created Hummus, Chips, Salad for the Acco Festival. The show was set in a hummus restaurant. The audience was served food.
Rubin is a graduate of the Theater School Amsterdam, where she received a BA; Bartel studied at Seminar Hakibbutzim in the drama department. Each created on their own, however, the combination between their talents has sparked remarkable work. In September, they will create a new street performance for the Acco Festival 2010.
This piece is spectacular and not to be missed.
The Dance Instructor runs at Teatron Hasimta on July 29 and 30.
For tickets call 03-681-2126.