A global platform

Jerusalem International Dance Week kicks off

KENNETH KAO Room 1 (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Not so many years ago, if international curators wanted to see Israeli dance, they would go to the Suzanne Dellal Center during the first week of December. As the only annual event in which local artists were showcased for foreign presenters, the International Exposure festival was the hottest place to be for Israeli dance makers and out-of-towners looking to program local dance.
While the festival continues to be a powerful springboard for artists, Jerusalem-based Machol Shalem Dance House has established an equally appealing outlet for hobnobbing with international icons from the dance world. Next week, the Jerusalem International Dance Week will kick off, drawing key figures from around the globe to the country’s capital city.
When Ofra Idel and Ruby Edelman, founders of the Machol Shalem Dance House, began Jerusalem International Dance Week, they did so as a platform for artists who had not found a place in Suzanne Dellal events, particularly Jerusalem-based individuals, who could expose their work to theater and festival directors from abroad.
Many of the guests would go from Jerusalem on to Tel Aviv; however, Idel and Edelman made a point of reaching out to venues abroad that had yet to establish a strong connection with Israel.
One such location is the Derida Dance Center in Sofia, Bulgaria. Over years of communication, trips back and forth and careful planning, Machol Shalem could initiate a residency program and ongoing engagement with the center, which has brought artists such as Ofir Yudilevich and Ravid Abarbanel to create and present works in Bulgaria.
Having their finger on the pulse of the independent dance community, as Idel and Edelman do, has allowed Machol Shalem to foster such connections, creating opportunities that did not exist even five years ago in Israel.
Earlier this year, Machol Shalem put out a call for two different streams in the festival. The first is an international choreography competition, which features works from around the world.
The second is the local showcase, in which Israeli-based artists can present creations from the past year. On Friday night, the eight semi-finalists of the choreography competition will perform at the Karnaf Theater. Among the artists to present are Belgium’s Samuel Lefeuvre, Lai Hung-Chung from Taiwan, France’s Didier Theron and Israel’s Ygal Tsur. They will be viewed by a panel of judges and narrowed down to four finalists, who will perform again on Saturday night.
The winner of the competition will receive cash prizes ranging from 500 to 3,500 euros, donated by the Technology Association of Oregon.
The following days will be jampacked with shows in several locations throughout Jerusalem, providing a picture of the dance being made not only in Israel but also in the city.
Yasmeen Godder will present Simple Action at the David Tower Museum.
Italian presenter Roberto Casarotto will lead the Dancing Museums Conference at the Israel Museum, where artists such as Shira Eviatar and Idan Sharabi will present work.
Athens-based collaborative RootLessRoot Company will show Collective Loss of Memory at the Gerard Behar Center.
In addition to the many shows, Machol Shalem will take their guests on guided tours of Jerusalem and provide meeting points with artists and local presenters.
All the performances throughout Jerusalem International Dance Week are open to the public.
Jerusalem International Dance Week takes place December 1 to 7.
For more information, visit www.macholshalem.org.il.