Posts Tagged ‘performance review’


Batsheva Ensemble: Tabula Rasa / Lost Cause

June 1, 2012

On Thursday, May 3, Dance Jerusalem went to the Jerusalem Theater to see a performance by the Batsheva Ensemble. The program included Ohad Naharin’s Tabula Rasa (1986) and Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar’s Lost Cause (2010).


Read the rest of this entry ?


Yasmeen Godder’s Storm End Come

April 29, 2012

As you may know, I am enrolled in a unique-to-Dance Jerusalem lecture course called Dance in Israel. As you may or may not know, I adore it. Though all lessons are filled with great information, video, photo, and opportunity for discussion, the most effective (and my favorite) progression of these dance history (or current events?) lessons ends with a trip to see a live performance. Just last night Dance Jerusalem hit the Suzanne Dellal Center once more for another amazing demonstration of Israeli dance. This time, we visited Tel Aviv to see Yasmeen Godder’s Storm End Come.


Photo courtesy of Gadi Dagon

Read the rest of this entry ?


Idan Cohen’s “Mad Siren”

February 20, 2012

Dear Idan Cohen,

I tonight had the pleasure of viewing Mad Siren at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv. Your work in this piece exemplifies the deep research I hope to invest in my own choreography. Among my favorite things about Mad Siren are your crafting and grouping of odd numbers of dancers and your thorough use of spoken word and prop elements. I especially applaud your dancers’ understanding of the work. I left the theater this evening inspired to enter the studio and invest time in my own research. I look forward to perhaps seeing Mad Siren again in a few months, and seeing more of your work in the future. כל הכבוד!

Sincerely, Carlo




Renana Raz and Barak Marshall

February 4, 2012

Dance Jerusalem went to Tel Aviv yesterday afternoon to see a dance program featuring two new works:  Renana Raz’s הדיפלומטים (The Diplomats) and Barak Marshall’s ווונדערלאנד (Wonderland). Here are YouTube clips of each of them, care of the Suzanne Dellal Center.



The lighting and costuming (slightly varied from the video trailer) gave The Diplomats a lighthearted and even pedestrian character. There were solo moments for each dancer, and complex density studies worth seeing more than just this once to be able to grasp. I was also surprised:  some of the scenes built in theatrical intensity so subtly that I almost couldn’t understand why I was feeling such big emotions from such a seemingly superficial work. Raz’s cleverness and the dancers’ playfulness in the piece had me chuckling throughout, and laughing out loud as it ended.



I am glad to have finally seen a work by Barak Marshall. I’ve long admired—from a cyber-distance—the gestural nature of his work. Each wave, salute, or swipe of the hand is delivered with such meaning, and at rapid fire speeds! The costuming and music in Wonderland are both reminiscent of Israeli (or Mediterranean? or generally European?—forgive my generalizations) folk traditions, yet the work still stands its ground within a contemporary dance context. My favorite thing about this piece:  it moves. It doesn’t only tear through space onstage; it sends movement through each dancer’s body in a way that you know none of them are holding back.


I’m inspired to get back into the studio. What a great kickoff to my winter break!


Martha Returns to Israel

November 6, 2011

O Martha.

Last Monday, the Academy was given a master class by Martha Graham Dance Company principal dancer, Blakeley White-McGuire. I opted to sit out because I had never taken the technique before. It was fascinating to watch as I had never been around the Graham technique up close. I truly look forward to the Graham courses I take this year.


Academy master class with Blakeley White-McGuire


Tonight, I saw the Martha Graham Dance Company at the Israeli Opera House in Tel Aviv. It was my first time seeing the New York based company–and all the way out here, no less! They performed the following Graham repertory:

  • Embattled Garden (1958)
  • Chronicle (1936)
  • Deaths and Entrances (1943)
  • Maple Leaf Rag (1990)

I had a hard time watching it at first, but I got more into it as the program went on. Oh, the theatricality! The line, the control, the articulation, and ornamentation. The musicality. The studies in staging, direction, and gesture! Even in stillness, they spoke volumes of the Graham’s technique and stage language. I wondered, “What is MY movement language? With what voice do I tell my own choreography? How do I teach my dancers to speak it?”

Here’s a clip of my favorite piece of the evening, “Maple Leaf Rag” :



After the show, I snuck backstage to see some familiar faces.


Backstage with PeiJu and Sam at the Israel Opera House


You won’t read this whole post about Tel Aviv.

October 18, 2011

To kick off our Sukkot holiday, I went to Tel Aviv with Elisa, Benny, and Daniel. This trip was definitely more successful than the first one to Tel Aviv! In this post, I write about:

  • hostel accommodations
  • things we did for free
  • food, food, food
  • a dance performance


Please, enjoy this classic from The Clash while you read this post.



The Florentine Hostel

Instead of booking one in advance, we Googled “hostels in Tel Aviv,” used the Google maps function to browse the different hostel websites, and wrote down the three that won the most points in location, cost efficiency, and look. It really is that easy to travel!



I might remind you that we decided to travel on the first day of Sukkot. Everything—shops, cafes, and all that is touristy—was closed! That said, the first hostel we visited was a bust. It’s a good thing we had three to choose from! The second hostel we visited didn’t look too promising on the outside either. But we rang the bell and were invited up. We found what felt like a rooftop casbah. Welcome to the Florentine Hostel. We paid 60 NIS to sleep there for one night. Yes, yes, we slept outside. It’s funny, the touristy mindset you take on, and what kind of experiences you’ll pay for.




Relaxing (for CHEAP!) in Tel Aviv and Old Jaffa

We went to the beach, just north of Charles Clore Park. A typical beach day. We spent hours there, alternating among sun bathing, walking into the water, and the usual beach acrobatics.




After the beach, we spent the evening walking around Old Jaffa, especially near the Old Jaffa Port to see some street art. The sunset over the Mediterranean was absolutely magical. The photos just don’t do any justice to the scenes.




Food Never Ceases to Amaze Me

Free Meat

Between the beach and Old Jaffa, the families in the park were all barbecuing. As we passed each picnic, the smells got better and better. One family heard our moans of jealousy and offered us some. They were VERY generous…



קיורטוש / Kurtosh

We found a small cafe where we could sit. A couple of us grabbed some ice coffee and took a table outside. When I looked over to the table next to us and saw what they were eating, I had to go back inside and make another order:  hot coffee and kurtosh.

Kurtosh is a yeast dough in tube form with a caramelized outside, sprinkled with almonds. It comes in halva and chocolate flavors. It’s a novelty pastry, sort of like cupcakes or macarons have become in the United States. It’s fun to share with friends, and absolutely perfect with coffee. We were in ecstasy, until it was gone.




And you know what? The confection was so entirely delicious that we decided to go there again for breakfast. We even took one to go, to enjoy with dinner when we got back to Jerusalem. Yes, they’re THAT good.



Dr. Shakshuka

In the evening we hit up Dr. Shakshuka, an Old Jaffa must-see (or -eat). Shakshuka is a dish served here and around the Middle East. Poached eggs in a tomato sauce with peppers, onions, maybe meat, and a pinch or more of spice. It’s served to you in a cast iron skillet, and you eat it with fresh, fluffy bread. It feels like a breakfast food, but it can be enjoyed any time of the day.

And of course, since this guy is “the doctor,” the shakshuka was pretty good.



We followed dinner with gelato. (Because we’re on vacation, and on vacation you can do whatever you want.) I didn’t take pictures because I had my hands fiddling with coins and my mouth full of Hebrew, trying to order. I was successful, even though the guy didn’t seem interested in playing the language game. He seemed to have had his fair share of tourists for the day, and repeated my order back to me in English.

Anyway, I had Nutella and New York Cheesecake gelato. Yes, unexciting because it’s Western.



Elisa and I ate pizza at Agvania. You might think you’ve seen thin crust pizza, but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet if you haven’t been here. The crust here is literally paper-thin and cracks in your mouth like a chip. The cheese on top was delicious, because it was presumably fresh. The pizza is sold by the quarter, instead of the eighth, at 15 NIS a slice. I enjoyed mine with fresh lemonade.




The Project at the Israeli Opera

I follow @Israel on Twitter, which is maintained by the Foreign Ministry’s Digital Diplomacy Team. They post many things about cultural events, link to blogs, and post photos.



The link brings you to an article by the Jerusalem Post, “Israel’s best-selling English daily, and most-read English website.” This article covered a rehearsal of Idan Sharabi of The Project, a budding repertory company in Israel. I suggested we go to see their show at the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv on Friday instead of Batsheva Ensemble’s performance of “Kamuyot” on Saturday afternoon.

The Project’s program director is Mate Moray, one of my ballet instructors at the Academy. There are other Academy faculty involved in The Project as well. Check out an article about The Project, written by my own Dance in Israel professor, Deborah Friedes-Galili.


William Forsythe’s “Double/Single” (2000)

I am not familiar with any of William Forsythe’s work. Having seen “Double/Single,” a series of five scenes performed by small groups on mattresses, I look forward to learning more about his choreography and process. Between the precise, intricate, yet fluid nature of the choreography and the technical skill of the dancers, I was completely entranced from beginning to end.

Able to read or assume some of the choreographic devices used, the piece left me ready to start my own project this semester. “Double/Single” turned my attention to all the possibilities of a trio of dancers. I’d choreographed my own simple trio work last year, and I’m interested in working in that model again, perhaps within a larger group piece.

Altogether, “Double/Single” seemed to me to be a study in what different things can be done on a mattress, and how the prop can be used to its fullest extent, while adding to the dance, rather than overpowering it, or distracting the audience from it. Because of its (I suppose) exposed and experimental feel, I connected with it strongly as a choreography student.


Idan Sharabi’s “Raq Tamid” (2011, World Premiere)

“Raq Tamid” means “only always” in Hebrew.

The piece included the entire company, which is about a dozen dancers. There were on-stage costume changes, projections of words on the scrim, and the wings were up, creating a bare feeling. The lighting design was detailed and essential to the dance, with spotlights, full washes of red, moments of complete darkness that divided the piece into scenes, and even the lowering of electrics in the middle of the piece, creating a more intimate setting on the huge opera stage. The sound score was a Chopin piece, with sound bytes from the old Super Mario Bros., and voiceovers from the dancers. Languages used were English and Hebrew.

Talk about repetition. Among the lighting, phrases of choreography, the quotation used, the sound score, and the costuming, Idan Sharabi succeeds in using all of them to their fullest potential. Well, I should expect such, as it was a thirty-five or so minute piece. I thought I was going to get bored during it, but the different elements were used in so many different combinations that I was always surprised to find new things in the repetition.

I didn’t understand what the piece was exactly about though. I got a feeling for the juxtaposition of happiness and being unsatisfied. I sensed the emphasis of the individual versus a group. I suppose it doesn’t matter, as I was so impressed by the crafting.


There is a Jerusalem Post dance review by Ora Brafman, the JPost’s resident dance critic. I also found a review by the renowned Ruth Eshel, who wasn’t as impressed by the show, but still praised the actual printed program, Mate Moray, and the mission of The Project.



Thank You

If you made it this far, you win the (figurative) prize! Thanks for reading. I would also like to thank Google Maps for being a big help in planning, and the actual map I carried around for the two days we were in Tel Aviv for being so detailed, even though it was given to us for free.

Here’s to more great overnight trips!


Spirituality and Modern Dance

October 5, 2011

The Gerard Behar Center is a home for the arts in downtown Jerusalem. Vertigo Dance Company and Kolben Dance each have spaces there, and there are two performance halls as well. I went down there last week to drop in on a Kolben Dance company class. Last night, after what was a long day of class and rehearsal, a number of us went down to the Gerard Behar Center to see the first of two nights of a small choreography festival.

Read the rest of this entry ?