Taking flight

It’s been a great year for choreographer Dafi Eltabeb, and it all began with ‘Airline.'

under the carpet art 311 (photo credit: Gadi Dagon)
under the carpet art 311
(photo credit: Gadi Dagon)
Over the past several years, mainstream culture has become infiltrated by New-Age concepts – for example, that in order to receive what you desire you must believe that it is on the way. For choreographer Dafi Eltabeb, this past year has been proof that faith and ambition can pay off.
This month, she’s hosting two evenings at The Suzanne Dellal Center to celebrate her recent success.
Eltabeb is running a completely independent operation. At the moment, she employs eleven dancers on a freelance basis. She has four different works being performed simultaneously. All of this is fueled by a meager, piecemeal budget, comprising various prizes and a lot of teaching hours. In a recent interview she explained, “You can’t just be in the studio as an independent choreographer. You have to market, to coordinate the dancers, to talk to the theaters, the lighting designers, to buy the light bulbs and other prop pieces. For more than a year... I was constantly at the computer. I’m always missing something. If I perform in Israel, I miss something abroad.”
But things began to take off – literally – in early 2009, when Eltabeb was selected as one of 10 choreographers to participate in The Shades Of Dance Festival at The Suzanne Dellal Center. As part of the project, the festival’s directors mentored Eltabeb throughout her creation process. The end result was Airline, a comedic trio about in-flight antics.
That August, Eltabeb mounted an independent premier, Matritza, which is the story of five characters who meet each-other in an endlessly changing set of circumstances. At times the dancers interact violently, at times they are gentle and warm.
The cherry on top of an already fruitful year came just at the close of the decade. Choreographer Nimrod Fried chose Eltabeb to share an evening with him in The 2009 Curtain Up Festival. For this golden opportunity, Eltabeb assembled a cast for Under the Carpet. Shortly afterwards, she was approached about bringing her work to China. “Within one week I got a formal invitation,” she said. “It’s great to be invited without having to apply. It feels like a big step forward.”
AFTER SUCH a busy year, most of us would have taken a little time off. Eltabeb, however, is adamant about continuing to push forward. “As soon as Curtain Up was over I knew I had to do something. I don’t employ my dancers as a company does. As such, I need to give them a framework; I need to show them that things are still happening; that there is movement,” she said.
Eltabeb decided to put together two separate programs for her evenings at The Suzanne Dellal Center. On the next two Saturdays, she will be showing two pieces of her repertory. The third piece in each show is Herzl by Roi Izhak Halevi. Eltabeb first saw Herzl in Fresco Dance Group’s Dancers Creations evening. “I wasn’t really looking for something to perform with us,” She explained. “I had enough work to fill an evening. Roi is an amazing dancer and there was a lot of shared imagery between us. I use rugs and a fan. He uses synthetic grass and a heater. Also, solos are clean and refreshing for the audience.”
In dividing the four works to be shown, Eltabeb took into account the length and feel of each piece. She opted to present a heavier creation with a lighter one on both accounts. “I am showing three new pieces and one older piece, Scratching The Surface, which has been performed consistently over the past three years. I opened it all up and decided what would go with what,” she said.
On February 6, Eltabeb will present Matritza and Scratching The Surface. One week later she will show Under The Carpet and Airline.