‘Tis the International Season

Yair Vardi tries to bring the best of the dance world to the Suzanne Dellal Center.

LADP (photo credit: ROSE EICHENBAUM)
(photo credit: ROSE EICHENBAUM)
Though he claims not to rely on curatorial guidelines, the connective thread between the performances Yair Vardi has selected to participate in the first Suzanne Dellal Center International Season.
“It’s my job to present a dance performance every day,” laughs Vardi over the phone. “There wasn’t a line I followed when programming the festival, other than that we have the best – the best of Spanish dance, the best of Israeli dance, the best of French dance…”
For four months, the center’s figurative doors will be open to dozens of performances, marking the longest and broadest event that the Suzanne Dellal Center has hosted in many years. The International Season is the newest evolution of a longstanding summer tradition, a midyear opportunity for dance lovers to catch up on the latest local dance or alternately, to take in creations by guest companies from abroad.
In previous years, this happening was called Hot Dance and later Tel Aviv Dance. Vardi assures that when it comes to the summer at Suzanne Dellal, a rose is a rose.
“The format didn’t change, but the name did. We wanted to plan it a little differently this year, to play with it, to make it grander, but it has the same elements we’ve always featured – some dance from abroad and some dance from Israel,” he informs.
As in every previous summer festival, Suzanne Dellal will shine a light on Spanish dance. This year, Vardi has chosen to also focus on dance from Brazil and France.
In terms of variety, the International Season has an incredibly wide range of genres. Where one night stands a troupe of Kathak performers, draped in colorful saris, the next night will be a duo of ballerinas and the following night a famous salsa company from Latin America.
“My job is to spread a large fan of dance. That’s the beauty of the center, that it’s for all flavors and colors; ethnic, flamenco, national, folk, ritualistic, Israeli and so on and so forth.”
Vardi does not pretend to love all of these performances in the same way or even to love them at all.
“I invite what I believe in,” he says. “It’s no secret that the things that are more popular are the colorful ones, the salsa and tango, the big Israeli companies… but then there are also surprises. Chinese dance is very well received here, for example. We are lucky that the audience responds to what we present,” says Vardi.
“This week we have a performance called Go by Galit Lis. She appeals to an older audience, who wouldn’t come here otherwise, because she speaks to them. I’m proud to allow it happen, proud that we can allow for these creations to happen.”
All of this is occurring during an extensive renovation of the center, one that has displaced the staff to a makeshift workspace in the theater’s mezzanine while their office is gutted. Come November, after thirty years at the helm of Suzanne Dellal, Vardi will open the doors to a new annex, which will boast a now non-existing third floor studio and modernized performance and work spaces.
“It’s an annoying and joyful celebration. It will come to an end. The renovation makes us think differently, it will make new opportunities. There will be new things that I can do, different kinds of events that we can host. Batsheva wants to establish a school here in our new studios and there are a lot of other plans under way,” says Vardi.

For more information about the Suzanne Dellal Center and the International Season, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il.