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Thursday, December 29, 2011
A “Rare Array Of Talent” In Israeli Dance


Judith Brin Ingber has an informative and interesting piece in The Jewish Daily Forward today, on the global interest in Israeli modern dance.

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.

What’s more, Judith Brin Ingber, author/editor of Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance, will be at 92nd Street Y on January 15 with Judith Chazin-Bennahum, author of René Blum & The Ballets Russes: In Search of a Lost Life. That’s part of our Will to Create, Will to Live: The Culture of Terezín series. Read more.

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