Curtain Up around Israel

The annual dance festival showcases new works by up-and-coming Israeli choreographers to audiences around the country.

RONI HADASH (photo credit: PETER VIT)
(photo credit: PETER VIT)
When the Curtain Up Festival was initiated some 29 years ago, it was a local Tel Aviv event. Showcasing new works by up and coming Israeli choreographers, the flagship project of the Ministry of Culture and Sport’s dance department was a beacon to adventurous audience members who were interested in seeing the most experimental, independent dance creations of the year. Over time, as the festival gained traction and influence and as its veterans made names for themselves in Israel and abroad, its reach expanded to include other cities. Jerusalem began to host the productions cultivated in Curtain Up, followed by Kibbutz Ga’aton’s Dance Village. The appeal of new dance was not exclusive to major cities or dance hubs, rather it was felt throughout the country. Responding to this demand, the Ministry of Culture and Sport will present this year’s Curtain Up program in Kiryat Gat and Karmiel, in addition to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ga’aton.
The festival kicked off this week and will continue through the third week of November, bringing nine new dance works to audiences around Israel.
The Curtain Up Festival has gone through many evolutions since its establishment. Each artistic director or team of directors greatly influenced the aesthetic of the works participating. Where one director favored experimental, improvisation-based creations, another opted to include works that boasted more traditional technical prowess or compositional feats.
Artistic directors Mate Moray and Itzik Galili, who are currently in their second year at the helm of the festival, watched dozens of presentations earlier in the year by prospective choreographers. Of the 58 proposals, Moray and Galili selected nine teams to go forward. The fruits of these nine creative processes were then separated into three evenings, or “curtains.”
With Moray and Galili’s entrance to the scene, the nature of Curtain Up once again shifted slightly. Moray, who hails from classical dance, opened the door to choreographers with ballet backgrounds. These artists had never been considered part of the Curtain Up pool and their inclusion into the festival brings an intriguing tone to the program.
The promise, however, is the same promise that Curtain Up has always made; to showcase the best and brightest independent choreographers in Israel today. The three programs, while eclectic in style and concept, are meant to reflect the most current proposals in the dance scene.
Curtain 1 includes Maramu by Rebecca Laufer and Mats Van Rossum, The Other Me by Igor Manishkov and At the Foot of the Vanishing Table by Tamar Lamm and David Kern.
Curtain 2 features Bubble Point by Dana Markus, Gever Forever by Ido Gidron and If It’s Not Soup It’s Wet Bread by Amit Yardeni.
Curtain 3 is comprised of Nature by Lotem Regev, Colonia by Talia Beck and Victims & Images by Roni Chadash.
This lineup includes a wide array of ensembles created by artists ranging in age from their early 20s to over 50. For example, Ido Gidron and Roni Chadash chose to work in duets while Amit Yardeni and Dana Markus created group works (Yardeni for five, Markus for six dancers). Unlike many festivals on the annual dance calendar, Curtain Up has no theme or topic, giving the participating artists complete freedom to choose their source of inspiration and subject matter. As such, the works do not resemble one another in the least.
Curtain Up will take place at the Suzanne Dellal Center from November 15 through November 24, in Kiryat Gat on November 21, The Karnaf Hall in Jerusalem on November 22 and in Kibbutz Ga’aton on November 23. For more information, visit