Opening this year's Israel Festival at Jerusalem's Sherover Theater, is the Inbal Pinto Dance Company's new production, Hydra. The sublime artistic partnership between Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollack, the two choreographers behind the production, never fails to enchant audiences. Hydra, the upcoming piece in a long line of masterpieces by the duo, promises to charm audiences with its humor, dazzle them with its beauty and leave them in a state of child-like wonderment. When I saw Oyster, my first Inbal Pinto production, I felt as if someone had glimpsed into the most picturesque horizon of my imagination and put it on stage. Since then I have attended Oyster four additional times and still, whenever those lovely pink posters appear around town, I am drawn to see it once again. I felt similarly awed after seeing Shaker, the more recent of the company's repertoire. So it is with baited breath that fans of the Pinto/Pollack crew, await the Israeli premiere of Hydra. The thread which connects all of the Pinto Company pieces, says Shi Pratt, now in her fourth year as a company member, "is a longing for something, a sentimental feeling that is always there in the background." Hydra draws its inspiration from the works of beloved Japanese poet Kenji Miyazawa, known for his fantastical and enchanting style. Miyazawa, who died in 1933, left behind a legacy of literary treasures, prose and children's tales, most of which were published posthumously. While success evaded Miyazawa during his lifetime, his work is experiencing a resurgence in modern day Japan. It seems fitting that Pinto and Pollack, known for their ability to sweep audiences away to the inside of a snow globe or an old fashioned circus, should expand their artistic search by referencing the ethereal world of Japanese folklore. Prior to Hydra's premiere in Japan they explained, "Miyazawa often takes readers on a journey, and we also want to take the audiences on a journey of fantasy through our creative stage." The creative process took the company on a journey of it's own, beginning last summer in the Suzanne Dellal Center and continuing in Japan during the month of October. The work has been co-produced by groups in Japan, Israel and Switzerland. While in Japan, the company was hosted by the Saitama Arts Foundation and premiered the piece in November at the impressive Saitama Arts Theater outside of Tokyo. For S.A.F., the collaboration to create Hydra was a first, breaking from their norm of presenting finished works by dance masters. The shower of praise generated by Hydra undoubtedly proved this to be a worthy experiment. Pinto and Pollak called on renowned Japanese dancers Kaiji Moriyama and Shintaro Oue to join forces with the company in developing this piece. Moriyami has attracted international attention with his powerful solo Katana, meaning sword, which received rave reviews after its U.S. premiere in 2005. Oue created a name for himself in Europe performing with such companies as the Hamburg Ballet and the Netherlands Dance Theater. One Japanese critic wrote, "Oue and Moriyama, the guest dancers, blend perfectly into the big picture." That picture is comprised of the exquisite group of individuals who comprise the Inbal Pinto Dance Company. Scored by Bach, Seigen Ono, Michael Convertino and others, the piece has an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, mixed with subtle humor. Hydra, which addresses the latent beauty in unfulfilled desire and promises not kept, has a movement language all its own. Also, a world all its own, in which viewers need only show up to be a part of it. Its hypnotizing beauty speaks to the most imaginative part in each of us, the part that sees bears in clouds and dreams of flying. Hydra premiers Sunday, May 24 at 9:30 p.m. and the following night at 9 p.m. Both performances are at Jerusalem's Sherover Theater (20 Marcus Street, (02) 560-5755). Tickets cost NIS 195 and may be purchased by calling 1-700-70-20-15.