Dance has always been popular in Israel, but it’s taken different forms. Before independence in 1948, there was fervor among kibbutz artists and new city dwellers to find a way that the people could express their excitement about reviving the land and finding their pride of place. Israeli folk dancing became a signature phenomenon of the new culture and was such fun to perform that it spread internationally.
Today’s worldwide interest in contemporary Israeli dance is in watching it rather than participating. Its performers are astounding for their reckless, highly technical accomplishments: Choreographers are daring and relentless in the ways they capture an ennui, along with the frustration and abandonment of the older generations’ idyllic hopes. Their works are specific to Israel, but speak for many beyond its borders.
Is there a specific look to Israeli contemporary dance? Not exactly, because so many are creating it, though it’s noteworthy how easily dancers execute difficult technical moves and stops, sometimes perched on one leg with the other raised at an extreme angle, or suddenly drop to the floor backward, or snake their spines in a fluid ripple that might go sideways, or search behind their bodies like antennae. The performers are also acknowledged for their creativity, since many choreographers credit them as “co-creators,” in their printed programs.
Read the full piece here, where she offers a lengthy and enjoyable review of “International Exposure 2011,” the festival of contemporary Israeli dance.
Related, mark your calendars for Jan 6-8, when three nights of choreographed Israeli dance take place at 92nd Street Y, during APAP. Learn more here.
Chicago-based songwriter Daniel Knox will be at 92YTribeca on January 25 for the world premiere of his new long-form composition based on the photographs of fellow Chicagoan John Atwood. The pieces, titled John Atwood: Black & Whites, will be performed by piano, voice, bass, horns, strings, accordion and percussion, and set to projected images.
Read below to learn more about Knox, by way of his answers to the 92Y Culture Klatsch Questionnaire. For example, you’ll learn he’s skeptical of most news sources. “There’s no real source I trust,” he told us, “beyond the simple facts of who is dead, pregnant, or at war.” And he used to like hanging out in coffee shops when he wanted to “disconnect”. But now, “they’re more like weird singles clubs where you have to listen to some asshole’s indie-rock mixtape.”
Where do you go for news when you start your day? Slashfilm.com, Gawker.com, Jezebel.com and Dlisted.com. I only read gossip and entertainment news. The rest of the world’s happenings usually show up clogging my Twitter and Facebook pages. There’s no real source I trust for any of that beyond the simple facts of who is dead, pregnant, or at war.
What are your favorite websites? Vimeo, Twin Peaks Archive and Soundcloud. And I visit the University of California’s Wax Cylinder Archive a lot. I go there and type in random words and just see what comes up. It’s a massive archive and all the music on there is interesting for one reason or another. Mostly I love how excited everyone sounds to be hearing themselves at all.
How much do you use Twitter and Facebook (or other social networking services)?
More than I’d care to. Facebook is like a miserable human experiment that’s mostly made me feel worse about who my friends are. When you give people the chance to say shit to everyone they know at the same time you just get a lot of people posing and and acting like the person they want you to think they are.
As a performer it’s essential and really helpful because people always know what I’m up to, and it’s a good way to sort of test people’s interest in things and see how word spreads. But it’s also an easy way to find yourself giving a shit about things that aren’t important. Twitter is much more interesting because it’s instant and public and you aren’t given the space to ramble on. But I’m sure they’ll find a way to change that.