The right moves

‘The Ascent,’ a gala evening with the Jerusalem Ballet, highlights the tail end of Hot Dance festival

ballets dancers311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
ballets dancers311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
On rainy days at my ballet school, when we couldn’t be asked to put on tights and leotards, our teacher would reel in the VCR and television trolley and pop in Children of the Kirov. This is a documentary film about the staunchly disciplined boys and girls of the Kirov Ballet School. It was filmed in the early 1980s and is both entrancing and disturbing. The young dancers’ eager faces, perfectly pointed feet and seemingly rubber spinal columns were a lesson to us: this is real ballet.
Despite the fact that the art of ballet was developed in France, its true home is in Russia. There is perhaps no theater more famous than the Bolshoi in Moscow to take in a dazzling night of dance. As such, if you are looking for a ballet teacher anywhere in the world, you will most definitely find a descendant of one of the great ballet schools of Russia. That is most certainly the case in Jerusalem, where legendary teacher Nina Timofeeva has spent the past few decades passing on the wealth of knowledge she acquired at the Bolshoi Ballet.
Timofeeva, now seventy-five years old, was a soloist in the famed ballet troupe.
After defecting to Israel, she founded the Jerusalem Ballet School. In 2004, this venture became an organization that encompassed both the school and the Jerusalem Ballet, a performing company dedicated to presenting the best of both classical and neo-classical works in Israel.
Under the artistic leadership of Timofeeva’s daughter, Nadia, the company now presents a new evening program entitled The Ascent. The program consists of sections by several different choreographers, most impressively of which is the world premier of Desires and Struggles by Romanian choreographer Ioan Tugearu.
Tugearu enjoyed a stunning career as a ballet dancer in Romania before trying his hand at making dance. He is currently on staff at the University of Bucharest, in the choreography department.
In 2009, Nadia Timofeeva contacted Tugearu and invited him to travel to Israel to create a new Israeli ballet. Then, from a plethora of pieces by Benjamin Yusupov, Tugearu picked Cello Concerto.
Yusupov happily gave the Jerusalem Ballet permission to use this specific piece of music. And although the music was not composed with dance in mind, Tugearu found a unique way of translating the complexity of the notes to flowing movement.
The rest of the gala evening is entitled Rising In A Row, and is a series of excerpts from revolutionary dance makers from the Soviet era. These artists sought to reinvigorate the dance vocabulary during a dark and dreary time in their country. For the first time, as a result of Timofeeva’s vision, these sections will be presented on an Israeli stage.
Asaf Mesarer’s “Spring Water” is a virtuosic duet set to music by Rachmaninov. Yaakovson’s “Pas De Quatre” is set to a section from the opera Norma by Bellini. The upbeat “Dance of the Basques” is a popular excerpt from a ballet by Vasily Vinonan.
For this piece, the Jerusalem Ballet special-ordered costumes and shoes from the Bolshoi Ballet for the quintet to enhance the authentic feel of the performance.
Finally, “Pas De Six” by celebrated choreographer Marius Petipa will be performed by six of the Jerusalem Ballet’s dancers. This piece is part of a ballet entitled Esmeralda, which was inspired by Notre Dame De Paris by Victor Hugo.
This evening program will take place at the Suzanne Dellal Center as part of the tail end of the Hot Dance Festival.
The Ascent, a gala evening, August 30.For tickets call 03-510-5656 or visit