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Experimental dance on display at 13th annual Intimadance Festival

Tonight (Thursday), the 13th annual Intimadance Festival will open at Tmuna Theater in south Tel Aviv. The program includes premiers by the local fringe elite and offers a good forecast of what’s to come in Israeli dance. Curated by Nava Zuckerman and Irad Mazliach, the festival invited choreographers to consider the theme In Between Memory and Forgetfulness during their creative processes.

I’m really excited about this festival. The local dance market becomes more varied every year. We now have festivals like Madridanza at the Suzanne Dellal Center for Flamenco fans and Hot Dance, which presents Indian, African and Irish dance as well as contemporary performance. While all of these flavors make our local dance scene more rich and colorful, I’m looking forward to taking a moment to watch the grassroots, indie choreographers trying things out and hitting sweet and sometimes sour notes.

All told, Intimadance will consist of four main events: two programs filled with sixteen premiers and two guest evenings. The two Intima programs may possible offer a crystal ball type of prediction of the near future in Israeli dance. The pieces are sharp, short, witty, gutsy and full of unusual moments. While I am certain that the viewer experience will be varied, and perhaps not seamlessly positive, from what I have seen, this festival is full of promise.

What struck me as I watched a presentation of a handful of the pieces that are currently in the wings, awaiting their premiers, is that there are many interesting uses of the dance medium on display in this festival. The pieces all employ movement, however, these choreographers are clearly testing out all kinds of methods of expressing their visions through physicality. There are props, text, songs supporting and enriching the dancing.

If Intimadance is the future of Israeli dance, then there will be a good helping of performance art tactics mixed with aggressive movement and strong stage presence.

Jason Danino Holt’s The Woman I Could Have Been rings, at first glance, as more of a theater piece than a dance. However, amidst Holt’s delivery of text, there are moments of pure, joyous choreography. His choice of minimalist movements is clear and precise.

Sharon Vazanna’s Red Fields, which I wrote about in The Jerusalem Post, is a clever and insightful piece. For those of us who may have tired of those dance pieces that have no dance in them, Red Fields will be a breath of fresh air. That said, there are no extraneous kicks or twirls in this piece, only steps that serve to depict the emotional state of Vazanna’s lone performer.

Ravid Abrabanel in Red Fields photo by Gadi Dagon

Last year, in Intimadance, Yuval Goldstein danced to the tones of Ein Li Eretz Acheret (I have no other land) in a piece that made his views on the current political situation clear. This year, Goldstein has added his thoughts on the dance world to the mix in his take on Romeo and Juliet. If Goldstein wasn’t so intelligent, both as a performer and as a choreographer, the piece probably would have been about as enjoyable as a bowl of hot soup on a summer day. But it’s worth going if only to see Goldstein’s partner in this work, Omer Uziel, leap about in a dog collar and chaps.

Yuval Goldstein and Omer Uziel photo by Gadi Dagon

The guest evenings give established choreographers a chance to present an evening-length work, a rarity considering the lack of theater space available. Rachel Erdos will show the extended version of a solo she made in collaboration with dancer and choreographer Ido Tadmor and musician Alberto Schwartz. For this engagement, Erdos and Tadmor invited former Batsheva dancer Stephen Perry to join them. The duet is entitled and Mr., the choreographer’s cut.

The second guest evening a trio by Michael Getman, Leo Lerus and Roy Assaf. Called Silent Warriors, the piece will, if nothing else, be a good chance to see three very talented male dancers take the stage.

Intimadance will run from tonight through Sunday, July 8.

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    1. If ever you’re allowed to post small videos of some of the work, that would be good. As the world passes me by I like to see where its going.

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