A summer springboard

The three-day international Karmiel Festival is afoot.

The international Karmiel Festival (photo credit: PR)
The international Karmiel Festival
(photo credit: PR)
One of the best resources a festival curator has is the program of another festival. Although every artistic director strives to find the newest and most unique performances, the stamp of approval of another known establishment is often the key to receiving invitations. The Karmiel Festival is a well-known springboard of this kind. An annual event in the northern Israeli city, the Karmiel Festival has been the first to present countless international companies to local audiences. These troupes are almost always picked up by other programmers and invited back to perform in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Such was the case with Igal Perry’s New York-based Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, which will return to Karmiel next week before performing as part of the Suzanne Dellal Center’s Tel Aviv Dance Festival.
Now celebrating its 28th anniversary, the Karmiel Festival will open on Tuesday for three days of diverse events. Mass folk dance sessions, dance competitions, live music and master classes join performances by international dance companies on this year’s bill.
To give audiences a much- needed break from the heat, the festival will kick off with St. Petersburg’s Ballet on Ice with Sleeping Beauty . That same night, the National Jazz Competition will take over the Horvitz Sports Complex. This event, which is a cornerstone of the festival, is highly anticipated by dance students around the country. Studios from all over Israel spend months preparing their dancers with a wide range of numbers, all with the hope of receiving a gold medal.
Wednesday will open with a performance by the Nehara Dance Company. Led by Daniella Bloch, the all-female Nehara Dance Company brings together religious practice and movement. The troupe will present Draft , choreography by Rachel Erdos. It explores the relationship between writing and text and Judaism. Company member Leia Rose Weil will teach a master class following the performance.
Later that day, the Tel Aviv- based Inbal Troupe will perform Wonderland . This is the company’s first work since the appointment of Barak Marshall as artistic director, and it bears his signature humor, dynamics and upbeat pace.
Wednesday evening will see the musical Umm Kulthum on stage. The performance is based on Salim Nasiv’s best-selling novel Om and tells the story of the famous Egyptian singer’s life and loves. Fans will recognize many Umm Kulthum classic songs such as “Enta Omri.”
Another important guest to participate in this year’s festival is the National Ballet of Hungary with Zorba the Greek . Based on Nikos Kzantzis’ novel Zorba , the ballet follows an American writer to the Greek isles, where he has inherited property. While attempting to arrange his affairs, he meets and becomes enamored with a stunning widow. In this narrative ballet, choreographer Gyola Harangozo shows the versatility and emotional intelligence of his dancers.
Thursday will feature a number of folk dance sessions, such as Special and Forgotten Dances; Circles Only; Debka; International Folk Dances; and the Yemenite Dance Session. The final international performance will take place on Thursday evening, given by dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet. Entitled “Choreographic Affect II,” the program was put together by Bruno Bouche to highlight choreographic feats by a number of renowned artists. Works by Bouche, Thierry Malandain and Michel Kelemenis will highlight important moments in the evolution of contemporary dance.
More than 2,000 dancers from around the country, as always, will give the closing performance. Coming together on one stage, dancers of all ages and backgrounds will wear white to honor Tu Be’av, the holiday of love. Guest artists Corinne Elal, Yuval Dayan and Osnat Jano Marom will join the festivities. A fireworks presentation will close the event, making certain that this year’s festival will go out with a bang.