The new dance capital

The Karmiel Dance Festival kicks up a choreographic storm with three days of perpetual movement.

Karmiel Dance Festival 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Karmiel Dance Festival 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
City dwellers often boast that while they adore the country, living in a metropolis puts them at the center of cultural happenings.
Sure, trees and open spaces are nice, but you can’t beat the thrill of being able to attend a number of different performances and cultural events on any given evening in your own town.
For one weekend this month, denizens of Karmiel will be afforded the opportunity to brag about their hometown the way that Parisians or New Yorkers love to do. For the 24th consecutive year, the Karmiel Dance Festival will overrun the meeting place of the northern and southern Galilee for three jam-packed days of movement.
This year’s program, perhaps more so than any previous year, is a perfect blend of international and local dance artists. There are even a few performances by Israeli choreographers living abroad, such as Zvi Gotheiner’s New York-based company’s newest work, Zoom.
The festival will officially begin with a performance entitled Evening on the Grass, in which more than 2,000 folk dancers will perform outdoors. This massive piece has been choreographed under the watchful eye of Yoram Gaon. The closing show will be equally exciting with guest performances by Diana Golbi (A Star Is Born) and Redband, as well as 3,000 Israeli dancers from leading troupes around the country.
And no Karmiel festival would be complete without the annual choreography competition. Students around Israel are, at this very moment, hard at work fine tuning their dances for this event. This year’s styles include jazz, modern, folk dance, hip-hop and zumba.
One particularly distinguished show to take place during the festival hails from Korea and is entitled Nirvana.
Seoul-based ensemble Koreana’s artistic director Kim Youngryoel has assembled this unique presentation.
More than 75 performers will take the stage in this spectacle, including Korean monks and Kodo drummers.
Another highlight is Fragments by Barcelona-based tap dancer and choreographer Sharon Lavi in collaboration with singer Harel Ska’at. Lavi’s company Tap Storytellers has been operating out of Spain for several years. This production will combine music, percussion, tap dance and several other movement techniques.
Jerusalem-based troupes Vertigo Dance Company and Kolben Dance Company will have premieres during the three days of fun in Karmiel.
Vertigo’s Noa Vertheim has been busy crafting Null, a new evening-length piece about the enigmatic role that chance plays in our lives. Vertheim’s powerful physicality matched, with her unconventional approach to creation and life, gives her work an other-worldly flair. After a busy season of touring, Vertigo will close this year’s season with Null.
Though their styles are worlds apart, Amir Kolben and Noa Vertheim have a lot in common. Firstly, their studios are located one above the other in the Gerard Behar Center in Jerusalem. Secondly, Kolben was once Vertheim’s teacher. During the festival, Kolben will premiere his newest opus, Babel. After a tumultuous year filled with cast changes and new creation (he released a new evening piece and a children’s piece this year), Kolben is ready to unveil his take on the ageold tale of the Tower of Babel.
Investigating the notion of communication and the lack thereof, Kolben’s company, leaner, fitter and more united then ever, delved into the saga. These performances will also mark the end of Kolben’s season.
Other not-to-miss shows are Tango Seduction by Buenos Aires-based choreographer Gustavo Russo and Pavo Real by Israel’s own Compas Flamenco Company. The latter is a co-production between the local group and Spanish flamenco star Miguel Angel. For flamenco fans, this is an absolute must!

The Karmiel Dance Festival will take place from July 12-14. For more information and tickets, visit