Since its establishment 33 years ago, the Curtain Up festival has been a springboard for hundreds of Israeli choreographers. As the flagship project of the Culture and Sport Ministry’s Dance Department, Curtain Up presents new works by emerging independent choreographers. Often, these works go on to be performed on stages around the world, helping Israeli dance troupes and individuals to gain recognition across the globe.
This year, the festival’s program has expanded to include not only premieres, but also special events to highlight the legacy of the festival and the artists who have performed in it.
Artistic directors Dana Ruttenberg and Oded Graf, who are now in their third year at Curtain Up, strived to broaden the scope of the festival both geographically and conceptually.
“We are trying to go to new areas, be it in the neighborhood, the country or within the Suzanne Dellal Center’s complex. We want to create a festival atmosphere,” says Ruttenberg.
“We are trying to go to new areas, be it in the neighborhood, the country or within the Suzanne Dellal Center’s complex. We want to create a festival atmosphere.”Dana Ruttenberg
Performances will take place in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Misgav, Beersheba and Menashe.
“As in previous years that we curated, we are looking back at what was,” explains Ruttenberg.
Screenshots, one of their programs was created at the start of Curtain Up. Many artists who attended this program have since become big names, whereas others didn’t make it.
What happens at Israel's Curtain Up?
To gain inspiration for this week’s festival, artistic directors Ruttenberg and Graf delved into both public and private archives in search of stills and videos.
“We found 45 images, some from the studio, some from stage and some from journalism.” Ruttenberg said.
She also confirmed that three choreographers had been invited to create a piece on professional training programs.
“Sharon Zuckerman is working with the Maslool, Bosmat Nossan is working with the dance students in Ga’aton, and Andrea Martini is working with Re-Search,” she said.
Ruttenberg also went on to explain that each artist was given 15 photographs to be displayed alongside their individual pieces.
Another special event due to take place one evening during the festival marks the first collaboration between Curtain Up and the iconic Write Club. In it, artists from various fields will engage in speech battles about dance and the body.
Curtain Up will also present 10 new works by 11 artists, split up into four programs.
- Curtain 1 is dedicated to a single artist, Hillel Kogan, and his new work, THISISSPAIN. In this work, Kogan, a veteran performer and choreographer, joins forces with Flamenco artist Michal Natan to create a duet.
- Curtain 2 includes works by Ofir Yudilevich, Tammy Izhaki and Avidan Ben Giat. All three works are solo performances by these female artists.
- Curtain 3 comprises group works by Annabelle Dvir, Shaked Mochiach and Rotem Weisman.
- Curtain 4 includes duets by Anat Gregorio and Michal Herman, a performance by Talia Beck and a group piece by Anat Oz.
“There is a big representation of female artists,” says Graf. “Seven choreographers are women, and I am happy that it’s like that,” he continued.
He also goes on to say how proud he is as many of the dancers are over 40: “We have a nice representation of dancers who are above 40 and 43 and 45 and even 50. We’re very proud of that... there is something in the mature dancers.”
The festival will close with a special, free performance by Public Movement.
To Ruttenberg and Graf, Curtain Up feels more significant now than ever.
“I think that it’s a critical moment to come see culture. Because of the place we’re in, societally and politically, we need to come and experience the ability of the spirit to rise up,” Ruttenberg laments.
Curtain Up will run between November 9-19. For more information, visit www.curtain-up.co.il.