A female perspective

The two-week Women Create Dance festival begins Monday.

Women Create Dance festival (photo credit: PR)
Women Create Dance festival
(photo credit: PR)
If you walk into any dance studio in any Western country, the majority of the people in the room will be female. This is true for almost every style of dance, from classical to street. And yet a quick Internet search of leaders in the dance field will reveal an opposite reality, one that is overwhelmingly male.
“It’s such a female world but in an absurd way. The dancers and choreographers who are male get a lot of focus and tend to move forward very quickly,” says independent choreographer Iris Erez.
She is one of the artists who will present work during a new festival initiated by the Suzanne Dellal Center. Women Create Dance, which will run for two weeks starting on Monday night, was developed to zoom in on what female voices in dance are saying now.
Erez is among a handful of women who have helped to define the female place in the independent dance community.
For the past 20 years, she has danced for a long list of choreographers. In 2003, she began presenting her own choreographies. Her creations, which include Homesick, Numbia and It’s Not Personal, have been seen on stages in Israel and abroad. Alongside her choreographic career, Erez has enjoyed stints on television, most recently as an influential teacher in the series Other Life.
During the festival, Erez will show her newest work, I’ll Be Right Back.
The duet premiered during the 2014 Curtain Up Festival. Danced by married couple Ayala Frenkel and Ofir Yudilevich, I’ll Be Right Back features Erez’s characteristically nuanced approach. Using text, movement and video, Erez presents a picture of intimacy persisting in spite of entropy.
“Its good to give birth to a piece and to be after it, like it’s good to be after any birth,” says Erez (the mother of a toddler). “It’s exciting but also difficult when the piece comes together.”
Erez’s work was one of the most well-received premieres in the Curtain Up Festival, which sparked an onslaught of criticism from dance writers.
“The festival had an interesting statement, and I think it was possible to have a dialogue with it and not be afraid of it or push it to the side. The criticism could have inspired a dialogue about dance and the form and not just to label things as good or bad. My work got relatively good responses from the critics, but as I was part of the festival I really felt it,” she says.
Other female artists who will present in the first, hopefully annual, Women Create Dance festival are Yasmeen Godder, Anat Gregorio, Rachel Erdos, Dafi Altabeb, Talia Beck, Shlomit Fundaminsky, Roni Heller, Noa Dar, Ronit Ziv, Maya Michlal Gelfand, Ilana Bellahsen, Mira Rubinstein, Sharon Vaisvaser, Keren Horesh Begun, Quince- Compas Israel Flamenco Company, Nadine Animato Dance Theater and Elina Pechersky.
As part of the festival, television personality Tzofit Grant will present an evening in which she will share parts of her life story.
On and off the screen, Grant works tirelessly to spread the message of positive change and empowerment.
Of the creation of this new festival, longtime director of the Suzanne Dellal Center Yair Vardi says, “Female creation is alive, kicking and presented throughout the year. The initiative to give it a special and concentrated spotlight emerged in order to allow for an overall experience and specific observance of the immense talent, diversity, singular voice of each and every female choreographer and perhaps even to ask if female choreography is different from male choreography? Or not?” To the many female choreographers out there, Women Create Dance is a very happy addition to the dance calendar.
“The fact that this is a Suzanne Dellal initiative means so much. It really gives the event significance,” says Erez.
Women Create Dance will take place at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv from January 5 through 17. Iris Erez will present I’ll Be Right Back on January 8 at 9 p.m. For more information, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il.