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Special Summary of Karmiel Festival 2010 in the Israeli Forums Givaa Tlula 26.8.10 

Why and how can the dance festival be the focus of the dancers year after year? What is the magic of this mass harkada? link press coverage
The Dance Festival was held in Karmiel for the 24th time, almost a half century anniversary; we had three packed days, 80 shows, thousands of dancers in several facilities and many dances and dancers. Also this year, thousands of participants, visitors, many dancers and several markidim, came to the city, to dance or to watch the outdoor entertainment. Even with the heat and humidity of July, it was wonderful to see a lot of Israeli residents and guests dancers from abroad dancing "Ani Noladti LaShalom" (I Was Born for Peace) and "Eretz, Eretz, Eretz.”

It is interesting to note that the first messages in the forums were started by dancers that had not been to the Karmiel Festival for years. Some had not forgiven past failures, so despite their desire to be there, they refrained from doing so. They argue that conditions are not appropriate for dancing on a large scale, that although the Karmiel Municipality gets a substantial income from the festival, there are not enough halls, sanitary conditions are poor, and there is a lack of housing for the visitors. And, the residents just cannot seem to find enough ways to make money at the expense of the dancers. Perhaps as a result many Markidim as well as dancers choose not to come to the festival. Link Many noticed the absence of Gadi Bitton and Yaron Caramel. Last year they exhibited particularly energetic dancing, but this year may have opted to attend another event. Let's not forget that during this time of the year many festivals are held abroad and many Markidim are paid to travel and participate. Link, Link, Link. Do the dancers have the power to move the festival to a different city, one which could provide better conditions? Perhaps there could be a competition for the city that could offer the best accommodations and conditions for the Festival? Any ideas?

Of course, the festival was a success for the dancers who chose to come. You could see that everyone found what they were looking for. It was especially nice to see the friends who came from all over the world and heartwarming to see the young people who came from various countries to dance our folk dances with us. We danced our special dances, from various Markidim, with all our similarities and our differences, yet together in one great circle of all the participants! This year the festival took place simultaneously in several facilities: in the Rabin Center, for the first time, the Community Center (Matnas), the gymnasium and of course, the tennis courts. Special workshops were conducted by Shmulik Gov Ari, Tuvia Tishler, Eli Ronen and Yoav Ashriel. Additional sessions included one in appreciation of the IDF (Zahal) combined with a longing for the return of Gilad Shalit, couples dancing with Ayelet, Dror and Michal, nostalgia, 80s and 90s dances with Nurit and Ro'i, Yemenite dances with Eyal and Ayelet Levy, stormy Debka dancing with Rafi Ziv, "Smash Hits" dancing, a women-only dance session with Ayelet, Tammy, Osnat, and on and on.

This year, people were deeply affected by the sessions for dancers with special needs who were accompanied by volunteers. There was dancing with the visually impaired, too. Danny, Michal, and Zohar helped fulfill their dream to dance like everyone else. The dancing with and next to the the dancers on wheels, handi-capable dancers, led by Adi, Leah, Maya, and Sigal was very exciting. I only wish they had had more suitable conditions. For example, the training hall selected was at the top of a steep hill making access difficult. (Givaa Tlula, believe me that I'm not guilty) In addition, the dressing rooms and toilettes were not adapted for their special needs. Link, Link, Link, Link.

For the first time, the graduates of the Markidim course were given the opportunity to lead a large crowd at a dance session. The session was full of energy with circles like in the old days as dancers were singing. “Hat’s off “ to Yoel and Bat Chen.

The dance session of the young Markidim, was also full of energy. (Lior, Omri, Maor, Dahlia, and others) Link, Link These Harkadot were shown in video clips by Edwin. He knew how to capture the atmosphere, especially at the dancing with the visually impaired. Link, Link, Link, Link, Link These images may be seen at the Dancers Association web site. Pictures of the dancing in Rabin Center, women dancing in the community center (Matnas), dancers with special needs at the tennis court, and photos of the Dancer Association information desk, may also be viewed. Link

The Popular Dance Competition named after Oshri Chver was also held this year. First place went to Barry Avidan's circle, “Debka Baba.” Second place was a partner dance by Ohad Atia, titled “Simanim Shel Ohavim,” Signs of Lovers, by Ofra Haza. Third place, was given to a couple dance by Gila Paz, “Basheket Haze,” Israel Gurion's song titled, In This Silence. Link, Link, Link Our thanks to Yair for filming these dances. I wonder how long before these dances become part of the regular sessions. Based on experience from previous years, a success in the contest is not a guarantee for acceptance into the dance sessions.

There were free dance performances throughout the three days and nights. The crowds filled the halls and amphitheater. Link, Link, to the cluster of the night shows.

It is difficult to organize such a big production without malfunctions. So, along with all festival's success, there were a few grumbles. The dancers complained about the lack of coordination between the planned program and what was actually happening in the festival. Some believe this stemmed from a lack of prior coordination between the Markidim. The absence of Gadi Bitton and Yaron Caramel, who were both mentioned in the program, brought comments; others seemed not to miss them. The lack of coordination among Markidim was blamed for some dances played again over and over. For example, the dances “Kmo Sira Trufa,” Like a Wrecked Boat, and “Chasake” were played so many times one would have thought it was a day of remembrance to some ship that sunk on that day. Probably not, because former moderator of Tapuz, Yemenite Rap checked it out. Link, Link, Link. The sand on the tennis court was disturbing to some, but most dancers found it contributed to the success of the Harkada on the courts. Link

It is impossible not to mention the Dancers Organization's contribution to the success of the festival. I will mention only a few of the successes of the organization. The first is the securing of the superior Rabin Center, a large hall with substantial air conditioning, and an excellent "foot friendly" parquet floor. Dancers, please thank the organization for it. Link

Members of the Dancers Association not only sold Association tee-shirts, they staffed the information desk and provided information about the festival program, the sale of tickets for shows, ATM services, kosher restaurants, and more. The Association members made sure the proper amount and the right kind of sand was applied to tennis courts. They published data pertaining to any organized transportation to the festival and was officially recognized and praised by the festival management and by the Markidim Association for their effort to keep the Association site up-to-date with the latest information. The organization also received a certificate of gratitude. Read about it here Link Special thanks to the markid and photographer Dov Orbach.

There was also a TV report on the festival, by Channel 10, which managed to annoy the dancers. The dancers were presented as an "extinct tribe.”People are still upset. The report covered the “Popular Dance Contest,” but did not even mention the subject of the contest. Who accompanied the reporter through the festival? Was the reporter even accompanied? Whose idea was this? The reporter spent valuable time in covering the performance of Samantha Fox. On the other hand, they spent 20 minutes of the valuable time of a visually impaired dancer, but did not include it in the broadcast. Someone who feels the dance experience within his soul could make it much better report. Link

The chairman of the Markidim Association, Victor Gabay, won praise for thoughtful care shown by rotating among the Harkadot during the entire three-day festival. Link

Dancers offered ideas for improving next year’s festival.
Here are some of their suggestions:
  • Create an updated festival program in coordination with Markidim so as to prevent cancellation confusion.
  • Coordinate with Markidim concerning dance program repertoire in order to prevent duplication of dances.
  • Improve sanitary conditions throughout the festival hours.
  • Add water fountains near the Harkadot.
  • Upgrade the skate yard, perhaps by replacing the pavement (to the quality of the beach or Sporteck area harkadot), so it may be used once again.
  • Build a campground for cars and tents that will provide electricity and water, at a fee to users.
  • Increase the frequency of buses to Rabin Center, and coordinate with the schedule of the harkadot.
  • Improve handicapped access to the harkadot. Adjust the conditions to the special needs of our handicapped dancers.
  • Enlist the opinion and involve of the Dancers Association in selecting Markidim and choosing shows.
  • Include more public dancing, like dancing for beginners, to expand the circle of dancers. Link

What was done well and should continue?
  • The special programs for dancers with special needs, were very moving.
  • Recontract with the Rabin Center. It was an excellent venue and contributed to the festival's success.
  • Sand and the right kind and quantity of sand in the tennis courts makes all the difference. Without it, it would have been difficult to dance.
  • And keep the Dancers Association Information Desk!
See you at Karmiel 2011.

Save the Date July 12-14 Karmiel 2011.

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