Get the picture

The Tmuna Festival features 15 new works, ranging from plays and dance to sing-alongs.

Sing -along Smadar Ya’aron (photo credit: courtesy)
Sing -along Smadar Ya’aron
(photo credit: courtesy)
As cultural consumers, most people favor one or two mediums. Whether it is theater, dance, film or visual art, audiences tend to stay within the bounds of the genres they connect with. As such, there is little crossover between dance lovers and theater freaks, film aficionados and opera admirers.
Luckily, there is a handful of performance spaces which, by presenting a robust mixture of works, manage to lure audiences of all sorts into many kinds of performances. At the head of this list is south Tel Aviv’s Tmuna Theater. At Tmuna Theater, not only are different genres presented alongside each other, but they often bleed together in unique performances that blur categorical lines.
This coming week, Tmuna will host the annual Festival Tmuna, a multidisciplinary celebration that spans nine days. The program for this year’s festival consists of 15 new works, ranging from plays and dance to sing-alongs.
For the dance community, Tmuna provides a vital service. Beyond the fact that performances at Tmuna often introduce audience members to dance, the theater serves as a vital ground for creation. Each year, facing down budgetary woes that only seem to increase, Tmuna produces a number of festivals such as Intimadance and A-Genre, in which artists are asked to create works with a specific theme or idea.
Mentors chosen by Tmuna’s artistic staff guide the chosen participants, allowing them to try out their wildest ideas on the stage. The space and freedom given to these artists often allow for truly unusual works to emerge.
The best of these works are then selected by Tmuna’s artistic directors to be further developed for Festival Tmuna. One such work is Hillel Kogan’s We Love Arabs.
Kogan originally created this duet for Intimadance, with artistic guidance given by Inbal Yaacobi and Rotem Tashach. Kogan has been a staple in the dance world for more than two decades. His choreographies blend political and social commentary with a singular movement language of his creation. There seems to be no topic that Kogan won’t confront, be it sexuality, political tension or the troubles of the dance world. As a performer, Kogan is larger than life. Every sweep of the arm or turn of the head is entirely deliberate.
In We Love Arabs, Kogan and dancer Adi Boutrous attempt to present a picture of coexistence between Arabs and Jews. Kogan’s running narration throughout the piece is sarcastic, hilarious and unapologetic. Boutrous, who hails from a Christian family from Beersheba, is an up and coming star in the local dance community.
In the last year, he has performed in works by a long list of choreographers such as Dana Ruttenberg, Bosmat Nossan and Iris Erez, as well as in his own works. He recently won first place in the Shades of Dance Choreography Competition at the Suzanne Dellal Center for What Really Makes Me Mad, a duet for Boutrous and Stav Struz, his partner on and off the stage.
The meeting between these two artists is unexpected and delightful.
As Ora Brafman wrote in a Jerusalem Post review, “This cohesive piece is by far the most brilliant choreographic adventure I have seen in years.”
Kogan will also present Obscene Gesture: The Duet Version. This work premiered as part of the 2011 Curtain Up Festival. In Obscene Gesture, a voiceover describes a dream in which Kogan finds himself in a surreal situation in Germany at the studio of the late Pina Bausch. A cast of five, consisting of Kogan, Inbar Nemirovsky, Osnat Kelner, Karmit Burian and Eldad Ben-Sasson, danced the piece. For the festival, Kogan updated the work and trimmed down the cast to include only himself and Burian.
Other major dance events in this year’s festival are the premiere of Rotem Tashach’s Morphophillia and Ambiphobia and the premiere of Ido Feder and David Marques’s Images des Betes.
Tickets to all the events in this year’s festival are priced at NIS 30.
Festival Tmuna will take place October 5 to 13. We Love Arabs will be presented on October 8 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit