Heading north

This year’s Karmiel Festival will fill the town with costumes, makeup, songs, dance and lots of energy.

Karmiel Festival (photo credit: Courtesy)
Karmiel Festival
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Next week, the northern city of Karmiel will receive a rush of tourism. These visitors will make their way to the city to take part in one of the many event in the annual Karmiel Festival. Be it mass dances or performances of the annual jazz dance competition, the festival will fill the town with costumes, makeup, songs, dance and tons of energy.
This is the 26th annual Karmiel Festival. What began as a small get- together of folk dancers has turned into a major event on the national calendar. Each year since the festival’s inception in 1987, the program has grown, bringing the best dance performances from a multitude of genres to northern audiences.
This year, the festival has reached out to companies from far and wide. The National Dance Company Uganda Crane Performers, the Black Theater Image of Prague and the Peridance Contemporary Dance Company will all visit Israel as guests of the festival.
The festival will kick off with a massive group dance at the Karmiel Amphitheater. Hosted by Sassi Keshet and Yona Elian, the opening event will bring 1,500 dancers to the stage, as well as the Netanya Kibbutz Orchestra and singers Sagiv Cohen, Adi Cohen, Irad Amotz and Ruchama Raz.
The National Dance Company Uganda Crane Performers are celebrities in their home country.
Their performance, Hakuna Matata , is an authentic folk show that features bright costumes and energetic drumming.
Choreographed by Gordon Kayovu, Hakuna Matata is an uplifting performance suitable for the entire family. For their inaugural visit to Israel, the first lady of Uganda, Jacqueline Susan Mbabazi, will accompany the troupe.
Yigal Peri, of the successful dance center Peridance in New York City, brings his troupe to Israel with the mixed program Infinity . Peri’s choreography will be presented alongside pieces by American choreographers Sidra Bell and Dwight Rhoden (founder of Complexions Contemporary Ballet).
The Black Theater Image of Prague returns to Israel with an assortment of highlights taken from their repertoire. Danced in black light, The Best of Image plays on the energetic connection between dancers and objects. Illusion is a major part of the Black Theater Image’s aesthetic, often leaving audiences with their mouths agape.
Dance Magic , a joint production of Hungarian artists 4 for Dance and the Sinva Ensemble, will give a taste of traditional Hungarian folk music and dance.
Recently revamped by the appointment of new artistic director Ido Tadmor, the Israeli Ballet will present Our Days . Danced to live music by celebrated rock band Hayehudim, Our Days features choreography by Tadmor, Yoram Karmi, Yoni Sutchi and Sahar Azimi.
The performance offers an insight into the new era the Israeli Ballet is about to enter.
The Israeli Irish Dance Company will bring their production The Magic of Ireland to Karmiel this year.
Directed and choreographed by Irish dance fanatic Yair Werdyger, The Magic of Ireland is an energetic performance filled with high kicks, quick steps and bright smiles. Guest performer Ornili Azulay will join the Israeli Irish Dance Company especially for the Karmiel performance.
Keren and Avner Pesach, directors of the Remangar Flamenco Dance Company, have partnered up with musician Amin Sage to create their newest production.
Raices (meaning “roots” in Spanish) is a dramatic journey into the history of flamenco. The piece was created specifically for the Karmiel Festival.
In addition, a number of performances focusing on Israeli music and folk dance will be presented throughout the festival.
These shows give the stage over to the thousands of teens who are engaged with folk dance companies throughout the year. The Karmiel Festival is no doubt the most highly anticipated event of the year for these youngsters.
Finally, the festival will close with a giant celebration with emcee Nikki Goldstein. Three thousand dancers will perform alongside Israeli pop stars Daniel Solomon and Dana International.
The Karmiel Festival will take place from July 23-27. For more information, visit www.karmielfestival.co.il