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June Review of the Israeli Forums Givaa Tlula8.7.11 

Summary of the Forums June 2011

The month of June was marked by preparations for the yearly Israeli Dance Festival in Karmiel scheduled for July 12-14, 2011. On the Irgun Harokdim site you’ll find details of the program, a listing of the different dance sessions and shows, tickets and transportation info, and other useful information. On Facebook, Tapuz forum, and on Irgun Harokdim’s site, many dancers voiced their discontent with this year’s timetable for the program. The main criticism was directed at the fact that Thursday is packed with shows and dance sessions, all held simultaneously, while Wednesday’s program is relatively dull. The issues evoked different opinions and questions. Is it right to include in the Festival’s program non-traditional Israeli dances, for example Hip-Hop? It is a good idea to split the dance sessions between the Matnas and Rabin Halls which are located far apart? You may add your reaction via the following link: Link, Link, Link.

In the next link, Korin pointed out that there has been a diminishing of the number of dancers over the last few years. In her view, it is a trend which is reflected in her harkada. Other readers disagree. They say what is actually happening is a shift from one markid’s session to another’s while the total number of dancers has remained steady; on the contrary, others say, the numbers are on the rise. Link.

At the following link, Mash’ha and Mecholel argue the need for a homogenous repertory at different dance sessions. To their surprise, most of the dancers/readers hold the opposite opinion. They think that the diversity of dance programs opens more opportunities, and as in a free-market economy, encourages freedom of choice. As a result of competition, the dancers can attend a certain harkada by following their favorite instructor. The question raised was, “Should the core of the sessions be uniform, while each markid flavors the session in his/her style?” Link.

This reminds us of the poll conducted by Irgun Harokdim. Of the 1397 dances created through 2005, which 400 dances were selected as “most favored” by the dancers? You can still add your vote: Link.

The poll reflected very different tastes and views, which undoubtedly each person is entitled to. We only regret the ferocity of the personal reactions to differing opinions. Link.

Dr. Dan Ronen’s new book, “Folkdances in Israel,” published by Carmel Publishing House, is about the unique phenomenon of folk dancing by Israelis. It contains a thorough study of the rise of folk dancing including the traditional origins of the dances and how they relate to the Jewish holidays, the different ethnic groups which prompted dances, the relevance of dance to the cultural and ideological roots in the times of the Kibbutz, and folk dance today. The book lists names of leading choreographers of Israeli folk dances, major performing groups, the locations and dates of their shows from the inception of Israeli folk dancing until today. The book consists of 220 pages and has 50 photographs. Link, Link.

You may read Yedid-Nefesh’s review of the book and Dr. Ronen’s reply on our website: Link.

Nissim Ben-Ami, a renowned instructor in northern Israel, compiled (at his own expense) a huge library of dances demonstrations and instruction and uploaded it to YouTube for its free use by everyone. His on-line site has been pulled down from the internet under the pretext of “breach of composers’ rights.” Many dancers deplore this action; they are deeply thankful to Nissim, as having watched the free video-clips greatly improved their dancing skills; several dancers expressed their frustration on our site’s forum. Yaron Meishar posted his reaction giving the arguments and quoting the legal grounds for this action. Link.

Ada opened a thread regarding the question of how to lure back dancers who have completely quit dancing. Various reasons given for their leaving included the blaring music at most harkadot, the increased entrance fees, and the multitude of newly composed dances. And, how do we encourage young people to join our ranks? Link.

Gadi Bitton, at his session at the Tel Aviv University, is promoting an interesting idea. Each week he devotes part of the evening to the “Parshat Hashavua” (the part of the Torah being read that week in synagogue) and couples it with teaching/dancing those dances with a similar theme. This week’s Parashat Korach, was accompanied by the song and music of Enchat Ha’adama. This new concept was enthusiastically received by our dancer/reader Rikud Ha’esh. You may read her report in: Link.

The next links pertain to Yo’av Ashriel, this month’s interviewee in our column, “In the Slippers Corner.” Our interviewers, Atara and Adi, have called him a sensitive visionary, a loving and caring prolific choreographer, and a founding father of Israeli dance whose great devotion and tenacity practically created dances anew. Yo’av’s dances have become inalienable goods of the Israeli folkdance repertory. His first dance, Ta’am Haman, was created back in 1950. Since then, he has created over 100 circle, partner, children, line and other dances. Some of the most popular favorites are: Korim Lanu Lalechet, Bo Beshalom, Ez Vakeves, Chad Micherev (Shibolim), Hora Nirkoda, Erev Ba, Hora Medura, Sovevuni, Laila Laila, Shir Same’ach, and many more. All of Yoav’s dances are well received and danced all over the world. We thank Yo’av for the moving interview he gave Atara and Adi. Link, Link.

Roni and Nira Siman-Tov conducted an evening especially geared to dancers in wheelchairs. Under the guidance of Leah Mish’al, the event was called, Galgal Zahav. One group after the other captivated the viewers with their imaginative performances; each presentation was imbued with a genuine love for dancing and joy for life! Congratulations! To find out who won the competition you may read Hani’s story at the following link: Link. Have a great month filled with joyous dancing!

We take this opportunity to remind our readers about the Irgun Harokdim booth at the upcoming Karmiel Festival. Please stop by and meet us. Our volunteers will provide free information about accommodations, kosher food, luggage-safe, directions and more - at the same time, rendering a friendly pat on the shoulder.
We are looking forward to meeting everyone at the Festival!

Written by Givaa Tlula; Translated by Zofia Shiber.

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