The outlier

This season, the Israel Ballet will unveil some particularly strong programming initiatives.

Israel ballet (photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel ballet
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In the landscape of Israeli dance companies, one troupe stands alone. The Israel Ballet, while as long-standing as powerhouse ensembles like Batsheva Dance Company and the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, has always been something of an outsider to the modern dance mainstream. Founded in 1967, it is the only dance body that is dedicated to presenting classical and neoclassical dance in the country, leaving the niche of ballet wide open. And, as often is the case, being an outlier often has many perks.
This season, the Israel Ballet will unveil particularly strong programming initiatives. Next week, they will take the stage at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center with And the Earth Shall Bear Again, an evening of four works by Netherlands-based Israeli contemporary choreographer Itzik Galili. Then the company will return to its roots with Romeo and Juliet.
The Galili evening is a stand-out moment for the Israel Ballet. It presents a collage of pieces made over the last 10 years by Galili, during which time he has left one company, NND, founded another, Dansgroep Amsterdam, and choreographed works for some of the world’s leading dance troupes.
And the Earth Shall Bear Again was choreographed for the English National Ballet and was first seen as part of the 2012 Olympic celebrations. The piece features a large cast, weaving in and out of group sections to more intimate duets and trios. Though this work is danced in pointe shoes, it bears many of Galili’s signature tactics, which hark back to his work with Noord Nederlandse Dans, where Galili served as artistic director for many years.
Slash is a duet, which premiered in early 2012 at the Holland Dance Festival. The piece was danced by virtuosic duo Rubinald Pronk and Drew Jacoby, who visited Israel last year during the World Dance Festival.
In Slash, the two dancers play with dynamic timing, at moments moving ever so slowly, at others diving into the negative space between each other’s bodies.
The third piece in the Galili program is Hikarizatto, which was inspired by a trip Galili took to Japan.
Music by the percussion group Percossa leads the dancers through a world of changing rhythm. Of the four works, this piece is perhaps the most visually engaging, with squares of light illuminating different parts of the stage like a larger-than-life chessboard.
Finally, Mona Lisa is a short duet, originally made for the dancers of Ballet Stuttgart. Here, too, lighting plays an important role in the atmosphere of the piece. The dancers, one male and one female, playfully intercept each other’s movements, creating stunning collisions and fluid interchanges.
The second program in the Israel Ballet’s TAPAC season is Romeo and Juliet by company founder Berta Yampolsky. The evening will consist of an open rehearsal with the company, a talk with Yampolsky, the performance and a cocktail party with the ballet’s dancers. Yampolsky has been a major figure in the Israeli dance community for more than four decades. She has trained some of the country’s finest ballet dancers and has maintained her presence as a choreographic voice throughout.

And the Earth Shall Bear Again will be presented at TAPAC on November 7 and 8. Romeo and Juliet will run on November 10. For tickets, visit