The Karmiel Dance Festival turns 30

This year’s program is dramatic and dynamic

The black light Theater from Prague (photo credit: PR)
The black light Theater from Prague
(photo credit: PR)
Thirty years ago, when the Karmiel Dance Festival was established, the Israeli dance milieu was quite different than it is today. Ohad Naharin had yet to take up the Batsheva Dance Company, the Choreographer’s Association had yet to be established, there were few annual festivals, and the range of styles presented around the country was narrow.
Every year for 30 years, regardless of political tensions, heat waves or internal struggles within the dance world, the Karmiel Festival has reached out to audiences and dance makers, inviting them to journey north and participate in three days of dance explorations. Every year, the program has included more styles, bringing the sounds and rhythms of African, Indian, South American and Asian dance to the stages of Karmiel while also presenting Israeli folk dance and contemporary performance.
This year, as the festival celebrates three decades of hard work and play, the local dance community once again faces a host of changes. Naharin will step down from Batsheva, the Choreographer’s Association will disband – and hopefully regroup – but the fertile ground of the Israeli dance community remains strong and the festival intact, perhaps more vital today than ever.
The program will kick off on August 8 with a massive opening parade. Thousands of local dancers and musicians will make their way through the streets of Karmiel, leading the crowd to the soccer stadium. That evening, the first performance will be given by COMPAS The Israeli Flamenco Dance Company, led by Michal Natan. The production, Classico Espagnol, brings a style of flamenco not often seen in these parts. Natan drew inspiration from Spanish composer Manuel de Falla, whose score will be performed live by The Israel Sinfonietta Be’er Sheva.
Taking the audience into the wee hours of the night, Prague’s Image Black Light Theater will perform their hit show. Operating for more than 80 years, Image is considered one of Prague’s greatest attractions. Their performance brings together dance, theater and circus arts, all on a pitch-black stage.
On August 9, the festival will host its annual folk dance competition in which thousands of dance students from around the country will present their newest interpretations of Israeli classics. The Karmei Machol Dance Company will perform Back to the Origins, a dance interpretation of biblical tales. The Horvitz Sports Complex will host 100% Art, a folk-dance event for able-bodied and disabled dancers.
The evening will bring several major events to the stage, such as a performance by members of the Banai family; Hungarian company Ballet Pecs’ Carmen; a ballroom dance exhibition performance; and Sea and Sunset, a dance competition with special guest Pablo Rosenberg.
On August 10, the lineup is dedicated to Israeli folk and jazz dance. The various stages of Karmiel will be filled with students and professional dancers in colorful and energetic performances. Eyal Golan will perform to an enormous crowd in the roller-skating court. In the evening, Chinese company Beijing Dance will present Cold Arrow – Game of Go Weiqi, a large-scale production that weaves together past and present Chinese culture and movement styles.
The Karmiel Festival will take place on August 8, 9 and 10. For more information, visit