It was my first time attending the Karmiel Festival this year, and I had an amazing time. I arrived around 2AM Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and danced until about 6AM. A great way to start a dance festival if you ask me!
The next two days were full of dancing. There was something there for everyone. There were two or three different dance sessions going on simultaneously, so I never had any problems finding something I wanted to do, and there were also all sorts of performances to see, things to buy, and food to eat.
On very little sleep, I danced three days away - because honestly, who can sleep when there's Israeli Dancing to be had?
They advertised the schedule beforehand, and I came prepared, I knew which dance sessions I wanted to go to, when each one was, and where they were all being held.
The one problem we encountered was that on one of the days they completely changed the schedule around in one of the arenas, and didn't have a good way of disseminating the information. Dancers and dance instructors alike didn't know of these changes until they arrived at the location only to find a different session than the one the arrived for. I, and others that I talked to, felt that there had to be a better way of handling this issue. These changes were made prior to the festival a lot more could have been done to prevent the confusion.
One of the highlights of the festival, in my opinion, was having the opportunity to dance with blind people, or people with serious sight difficulties. There are a few dance sessions throughout Israel where the blind are taught Israeli Dances. Just like the rest of us, they dance the same dances and sames steps, only requiring a hand to guide their way. There are also dance sessions throughout Israel, and also at Karmiel, of dancing with people in wheelchairs. These dance sessions give me hope, because although I am currently lucky enough to have 20/20 vision, and full functionality in all my limbs, it's reassuring to know that even if I can't walk or can't see, I can still dance.
I truly don't have the words to express how amazing it was to be surrounded by so many people who love Israeli Dancing like I do from all over the country, and the world.
Overall, I had an absolutely amazing time at Karmiel this year, and definitely plan on making it to the next one!