Dancing up North

The Karmiel Dance Festival returns, celebrating the city’s 50th anniversary.

The Karmiel Dance Festival returns, celebrating the city’s 50th anniversary (photo credit: Courtesy)
The Karmiel Dance Festival returns, celebrating the city’s 50th anniversary
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Next week, for the 27th consecutive year, the northern city of Karmiel will become the epicenter of Israeli culture. For three days, Karmiel will be overrun with local and international guests who all have one thing in common, the love of dance. These visitors will rush North to take part in, as audience members or performers, one of the many events in the annual Karmiel Festival. Be it mass dances or performances of the yearly jazz dance competition, the festival will fill the town with costumes, makeup, songs, dance and tons of energy.
This year, the festival is at the heart of the city’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
The annual Karmiel Festival began as a small get-together of folk dancers. Each year since the festival’s inception in 1987, the program has grown, bringing the best dance performances from a multitude of genres, from ballet to contemporary to jazz dance, to northern audiences. All the while, folk dance remains at the core of the festival’s spirit.
This year, the festival will boast performances by companies from the far stretches of the globe. Among the international guests this year are the State Dance Ensemble of Armenia, Gustavo Russo’s Tango Seduction of Argentina, the Georgian National Ballet and the Chai Folk Ensemble of Winnipeg, Canada.
The three main events of the program will take place in the Karmiel Amphitheater. The festival will kick off with a massive group dance set to music composed by Israeli treasure Sasha Argov. This year marks 100 years since his birth. Hosted by Galit Giat, the opening event will bring 1,500 dancers to perform under the moonlight.
The following night, the Ekaterinburg State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater will present Swan Lake. The historic Russian troupe celebrated its centenary in 2012 and is still going strong. To Karmiel the company will bring a cast of impeccably trained dancers, stunning costumes and a taste of time-tested ballet.
The closing event of this year’s festival is a showcase of 2,000 Israeli dancers, singers and musicians. The individual troupes from across the country will join together to help the festival go out on a very high note.
The Karmiel Performing Arts Center will host a long list of performances, both Israeli and foreign.
Over the past year, the Israel Ballet has joined forces with Mayumana to create an unprecedented meeting of styles. Pointe shoes and sneakers share a floor in Game On, an evening-length work inspired by Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.
The Chai Folk Ensemble, North America’s oldest and largest folk dance troupe, has put together a special collage of dances. Consisting of over 40 dancers, singers and musicians, the ensemble has been an outpost for Israeli dances since its establishment in 1964. The company first performed in Israel in 1998. This will be Chai’s second visit to the country.
In addition, a number of performances focusing on Israeli music and folk dance will be presented.
These shows give the stage over to the thousands of teens who are engaged with folk-dance companies throughout the year. The Karmiel Festival is no doubt the most highly anticipated event of the year for these youngsters.
The Karmiel Festival will take place from July 8-10. For more information, go to www.karmielfestival.co.il.