Sleepless nights

Ten local choreographers are eager to premiere their pieces at this year's Curtain Up Festival

Curtain Up 311 (photo credit: Yaniv Cohen)
Curtain Up 311
(photo credit: Yaniv Cohen)
For 10 choreographers in Tel Aviv, the coming week will be very, very intense. But the week before a big premiere is always a difficult one, full of costume fittings, editing music until the wee hours and endless rehearsals. So this week, the 10 artists set to unveil brand new pieces during the Curtain Up Festival at the Suzanne Dellal Center shouldn’t plan on sleeping too much. The annual festival will open this weekend, with three evenings of fresh dance.
Initiated by the Culture and Sports Ministry 22 years ago, Curtain Up is a landmark achievement in any emerging choreographer’s career. Two years ago, to celebrate two decades of successful events, the festival updated its operating system. From a single curator model, the festival opened its doors to a number of artistic directors (then six leading Israeli choreographers), each of whom was charged with putting together one program. Last year, four artists carried the torch of Curtain Up’s new initiative.
This year, the festival has been scaled down to three artistic directors: Ronit Ziv, Sahar Azimi and Tamar Borer. These three dance makers each enjoyed one or more premieres within the frameworks of the festival. Six months ago, they met with a long list of local choreographers and eventually selected the artists they wanted to mentor.
Tamar Borer curated Curtain One. The evening features three female choreographers – Maya Brinner, Iris Erez and Maya Weinberg. This is Erez’s second year as a guest in Borer’s evenings. Last year she presented Homesick, a trio for two men and a woman in which the dancers weave in and out of each other’s clothing on an enormous roll of cardboard. This year, she will unveil Shuttered, a dance for four. Joining the dancers on stage is musician/performer Yaniv Minzer.
Brinner’s work, entitled Woods, is a solo. In this piece, Brinner broached her untamable desire in life.
This is Weinberg’s first piece for Curtain Up. She has created a trio that explores the notion of a dreamlike sensation in which movement, connection and awareness of oneself are disconnected from the conceptual mind.
Overwhelmed by the talent presented to him, Azimi decided to go with four artists as opposed to the conventional three. His evening includes works by Doron Raz, Roy Assaf, Gili Navot and Noa Zuk. Both Raz’s Valentina and Assaf’s Six Years Later… are duets. Assaf’s deals with love, while Raz’s presents a unique window into the lives of two women.
Subject to Change is a solo danced and created by the gentle and lithe Navot. And in Zuk’s trio Speaker, the dancers and the music are one. Zuk employed a variety of tracks to create a sense of chaos that the dancers follow with their bodies.
Ziv’s evening, Curtain Three, presents work by Hillel Kogan, Rachel Erdos and Osnat Kelner. In Her Words by Erdos takes place in perhaps a 1950s dance hall in Italy. Itamar Finzi and his band Monti Fiori serenade the three dancers on stage. In Obscene Gesture, Kogan’s voice regales the audience with a recent dream Kogan had in which he interacts quite unusually with the late Pina Bausch. His cast of five strong dancers bring this quirky and insightful piece to life. Kelner’s The Sad Little, Sensitive, Unappreciative, Pisces Jesus Man has a cast of four men. The dancers are at once movers and a rock ‘n’ roll ensemble, entertaining the audience while struggling with one another. Kelner’s dancers spent the past several months rehearsing their movements and their musical skills, as the music in this piece will be played live.
Curtain Up will run from November 3 through November 12 with performances at the Suzanne Dellal Center ( and the Jerusalem Theater (