12 real-life Jerusalem based love stories retold through dance

"We are going through a difficult period and there is no doubt that love is a point of light that should be celebrated."

Miriam Engel and her husband Sergei perform a dance rendition of Boaz Shiraz's marriage proposal to his now wife Michal. (photo credit: ILAN HAZAN)
Miriam Engel and her husband Sergei perform a dance rendition of Boaz Shiraz's marriage proposal to his now wife Michal.
(photo credit: ILAN HAZAN)
The real life love stories of 12 couples will be retold through dance in an art project produced by the internationally renowned and Jerusalem based choreographer Miriam Engel. The dance renditions were performed and filmed in the location that the stories they are portraying took place in, and will be aired on Angela Dance Company's Facebook page on December 28-31.
Engel, founder of the Angela Dance Company, had requested the public to send in love stories that occurred in or thanks to the city of Jerusalem as apart of a project that was born out of Engel's want to search for the good and the inspiration amid the pandemic.
Of the hundreds of stories that were sent in, 12 were selected to be turned unique multidisciplinary works featuring Miriam and her husband Sergei. Performances also include other dance artists, actors and musicians.
"I realized how much love connects and bridges all gaps when I saw so many of the love stories that were sent to us. We are going through a difficult period and there is no doubt that love is a point of light that should be celebrated. It is something that everyone needs, something that everyone has in common," Engel said.
Jerusalem was chosen as the location of the project due to Engel's personal connection to the city in which she grew up and the social, religious, political, security, and sectoral diversity she feels it contains. In the future, Engel hopes to continue the project outside of Jerusalem's borders, both in and out of Israel.
The performances were meant to be performed  in front of live audeinces in the locations they took place in, but due to the coronavirus the project had to be adapted to an online format. In the end, the dance renditions were indeed performed in the location in which they took place, but instead of in front of a live audience, were filmed to be shared online.
One of the stories chosen is that of Naomi Rosen Shuraki and her husband Gabriel.
The love story of Naomi and Gabriel is reproduced in Miriam Engel's dance choreography project. (Ehud Melamed)The love story of Naomi and Gabriel is reproduced in Miriam Engel's dance choreography project. (Ehud Melamed)
The couple's story began in a basement where Naomi was playing piano in a klezmer band. At the time Naomi was 29, and a divorced mother of three children. One evening she happened to meet Gabriel, then 23-years-old. They fell in love, but during the course of their relationship split up several times. In the end, love won out and a year after the couple met, Gabriel had just finished performing a violin solo at the Jerusalem Theater when he invited Naomi's children on stage and asked them for permission to marry their mother.
In their dance rendition of the couple's love story, Miriam and Sergei danced to the song Gabriel was playing on stage just before his proposal to Naomi: a violin concerto composed by the famed Felix Mendelssohn. The rendition was filmed at Burstein's Klezmer Basement located in the heart of the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood Romema where Naomi and Gabriel met.
Another love story chosen by Engel to produce was that of Boaz Shiraz's marriage proposal to his now wife Michal in a Jerusalem grocery store. Boaz had chosen the location to represent the routine in the couple's daily life, and the place in which a majority of their time together was spent. Out of excitement Michal dropped the eggplant she was holding when Boaz proposed. Miriam and Sergei produced the dance rendition in the very same store.
Miriam reproduces the scene of Miriam dropping an eggplant when Boaz proposed to her (Ilan Hazan)Miriam reproduces the scene of Miriam dropping an eggplant when Boaz proposed to her (Ilan Hazan)
Engel began the project after undergoing a personal and professional crisis which developed as a result of the pandemic. The crisis led her to search within herself for motivation and inspiration for work to be adapted to today's times. After realizing that performances in Israel and around the world were canceled, collaborations were cut short and a solo project she was working on was halted, she realized she had to find the good amid the pandemic.