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Israeli choreographers call for strike

This morning, I saw this statement as the opening log in a new group on Facebook called The Choreographers’ Strike.

“Why the hell do we put up with it?

Dance theaters and City municipalities love having festivals of all kinds. It shows how cultural the city is or how central the theater is. It generates economy for the businesses around the theaters creates income for the theaters themselves. The technicians and light designers get paid. And for the past few years even dancers have started earning a meager living somehow.

All these festivals fall directly on the private shoulders of the choreographers. We not only work for free during the artistic process, we also constantly pay out of our own pockets for the losses of putting on a show. Losses that are too much for an individual to bear. Losses which should be finances by either the ministry of culture, or by municipalities or by the theaters themselves.

But since we are each fighting for recognition and since the only way to succeed is to put on as many shows as we can (so that we MIGHT be considered for support), we give in and as individuals – as private citizens we, the choreographers PAY OUT OF OUR OWN POCKETS for the existence of our artistic scene.


A business can afford to go bankrupt. A municipality can afford to be in deficit and it is in the interest of the ministry of culture to culture to export and therefore claim as “Israeli Dance/Performance”.

We are not LTD businesses! (At least most of us). We cannot allow ourselves as private citizens to pay for the upkeep of this artistic scene!

I call for us to organize a strike! See how the theaters like it, when no one is willing to put on a show! See how the festivals like it when no one is willing to create! See how city municipalities like it when they cannot boast the existence of a Tel Aviv dance scene! Or see how the ministry of culture likes it when they have no “Israeli dance” to be proud of or export!

Let’s think of when and how we can go on strike most effectively!


As the day progresses, more and more messages are added to the list of gripes. Well-known choreographers have chipped in about their own struggles to make ends meet. The fact of the matter is that producing a dance performance is a sure way to lose money. With theater rentals going through the roof and technicians’ fees to pay, most choreographers go into debt in order to have their work shown.

There have been talks about this kind of strike for years. Maybe this will get the ball rolling…



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    1. sh

      ” It shows how cultural the city is …”
      It’s not called show business for nothing.
      Good luck, choreographers!

      Reply to Comment
    2. Kolumn9

      This is almost as funny as the calls by the Haredim to strike. If we don’t get this or that we’ll stop learning Torah and then everyone will see how essential… Look, if the theater rentals are going through the roof that would suggest that there is plenty of demand for them, which would in turn suggest that there is someone else who can afford the space even if some dance choreographers can not. Additionally, dance performances can hardly be classified a mass good that should be publicly subsidized considering the tiny part of the population that cares about it. In essence the choreographers and Haredim both appear to think they are Atlas holding up a world. Only they are not, but neither will believe that until they shrug while the world keeps spinning normally.

      Reply to Comment
    3. sh

      The theaters are full because people love dance, K9. You can’t have good dance without choreographers. What it means is the cash isn’t reaching the right pockets – the story of many of our lives here it seems. But tell us about your comparison with the strikes that Haredim call for. I know they’re not averse to lobbing a stone or two at vehicles on shabatot (and unlike non-Jewish stone-throwers they are not thrown into administrative detention for it) but when did they threaten to stop learning Torah?

      Reply to Comment
    4. Kolumn9

      Sh, The explanation you provide seems rather unusual. You are suggesting that choreographers are essential to somebody else making money yet are incapable of collecting much cash for their services. Is the problem here then that there are too many choreographers competing for the same jobs?

      The Haredim don’t threaten to stop learning Torah. Their position is that it is only through their learning of the Torah that the world keeps spinning and the state of Israel continues to exist. The implication is that they threaten everyone else with the consequences of being forced to stop learning Torah.

      Reply to Comment
    5. sh

      K9 there isn’t much you can teach me about haredim. Looks like there isn’t much you can teach me about showbiz either.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Kolumn9

      Sh, is that because you are a Haredi dance choreographer? My, that would make you unique, wouldn’t it?

      Reply to Comment

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