Raz-zle dazzle them

Israeli choreographer Renana Raz presents three of her dynamic pieces at Suzanne Dellal.

Renana Raz (photo credit: Courtesy)
Renana Raz
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Last year, when the status of the Sea of Galilee turned bleak, a series of educational promotions was released on Israeli television channels. The message, delivered by a beautiful young woman, was clear: Save water. While many recognized this spokesperson as the actress that wowed audiences in prime-time dramas, few were aware that the woman speaking out for the environment was also a recognized rising star in the contemporary dance community.
Renana Raz is perhaps the only current choreographer who has managed to bridge the gap between pop culture and fringe art.
Her talents on screen brought her into the Israeli limelight, while her creativity and love of dance kept her feet firmly planted on the linoleum floors of the Suzanne Dellal Center.
As a choreographer, Raz has set herself apart as someone who is willing to handle difficult subject matter. Her pieces are deeply theatrical and are always well thought out from the initial idea to the execution on stage. Her work has toured internationally and has been presented on every reputable stage in the country.
Next week, Raz will present three works from her impressive repertoire.
On Monday night, Raz will show The Diplomats and We Have Been Called To Go.
The former is the newer of the two pieces, having premiered in late 2011. The Diplomats was a commission of the Suzanne Dellal Center’s and was originally shown together with Barak Marshall’s Wonderland.
Clad in flag-inspired costumes, the six dancers of The Diplomats leap and turn to the tunes of national anthems from a long list of countries. Prior to the premiere, Raz spoke of her inspiration, mentioning a desire to decontextualize the political banners to find new meaning. The piece is both joyous and intricate, boasting strongly physical group sections, as well as intimate exchanges in twos and threes.
We Have Been Called To Go marked a definitive moment in Raz’s progression as a choreographer. First presented in 2002, the piece draws its inspiration from Israeli folk dance, as well as the famed Israeli sing-along. Ten years ago, when Raz first unveiled We Have Been Called To Go, it stood out as one of the only distinctively Israeli dance works on the scene. With costumes that evoke the olden days of the kibbutz era and songs to match, this work is both nostalgic for and critical of a very specific element of the Israeli collective history.
On Wednesday night, Raz will show what has arguably become her most successful work yet. YouMake Remake is a collage of vignettes in which each scene consists of a video found of YouTube and an artist or group of artists responding to that video. In creating this work, Raz called on professional dancers, actors and even her husband’s grandmother to participate.
The videos were chosen after extensive searches online. Earlier this year, following rave reviews of the first edition of YouMake Remake, Raz once again delved in the Internet vortex to create a new edition.
The show on Tuesday will be a combination of the two and is certain to delight audiences.
The Diplomats and We Have Been Called To Go will run on September 10 at 9 p.m. at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv YouMake Remake will run on September 12 at 9 p.m. For tickets, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il.