performed by: Malka Hagbi, Natalia Nimer, Ronit Bar On-Azoulay, Liat lax, Abu El Assel Shaden, Valentina Basov, Anna Zubatov, Keren Sharaby, Gabriel Guler, Avraham Sadan, Vladimir Yuzik, Arman Yeloyan, Alberto Gabay, Yaacov Vartanov, Cochava Arava and Mykhaylo Basov.

Performance Schedule:
Feb 9th 7:30pm
Feb 10th 2:30pm & 8:00pm
Annex Theatre

La MaMa E.T.C. will present Inbal Dance Theater of Israel February 9 and 10 in three-dance concert as the grand finale to Inbal's 2002 American tour, which has taken the troupe to San Diego, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami and Boca Raton. The evening will be comprised of two new works, "Sajarra" by Ilana Cohen and "Ruah Kadim" by Racheli Sela, and a revival of "The Story of Ruth," an art dance by Inbal's legendary founder, Sara Levi Tanai, who is Israel's Poet Laureate in Art, Music and Dance.

In this new piece, two elderly women of Mid Eastern descent, who embody tradition, observe the rapidly changing lifestyle of the younger generation. The famous musician Shlomo Bar and choreographer Ilana Cohen create a vibrant new language of music and ethnic dance, based on the Inbal style as well as other folk dances. Duration: 35 min

Choreographer Ilana Cohen was born in Rehovot. In 1989, she represented Israel in the International Dance Festival in North Carolina. She was part of the dance corps and performed as a solo dancer in Inbal Dance Theater for more than twenty years. She currently serves as dance director of Inbal Dance Theater as well as Assistant Artistic Director. Her previous work in Inbal includes "Kinah," "Em," "Hatzi Glimat Hamalhut," "Talouvot," "Ra'alah" and "Sajarra," which was a collaboration with the prominent musician Shlomo Bar. Tikva Hoter Yishai (Yediot Ahronot) wrote, "Sajarra is one of Cohen's finest works as she brings the magnificent lnbal tradition back to its former glory."

Created by Racheli Sela of lnbal, "Ruah Kadim" is a musical tapestry that is alive with sound, light and "local movements." This work, inspired by Inbal's local environment, incorporates elements of Sephardic Jewish prayer, Arab folk music and liturgy as well as the rhythm of the debka. Duration: 17 min

Choreographer Racheli Sela was born in Yemen and is one of the founders of lnbal Dance Theater. For many years, she performed numerous roles as both dancer and singer. She composes and performs on various instruments, most prominently the drum. Her works at lnbal include "Akevot," two productions in which she is both choreographer and composer, "Merhava" and "Ruah Kadim," and the lyrics for "Hatzi Glimat Hamalhut."

Biblical themes, combined with the folklore of Middle Eastern Jews and the Israeli experience, are the foundations on which Inbal is based. This staging of the ageless story of Ruth, which never ceases to astound with its grace and simplicity, exemplifies the company's roots. Duration: 35 rnin Choreography: Sara Levi- Tanai. Music: Ovadia Toviah, newly adapted by Rafi Kadishon.

Choreographer Sara Levi- Tanai, Israel's Prize Laureate in Art, Music and Dance, is Founder of Inbal Dance Theatre. Born in Israel when it was under Ottoman rule, she became orphaned and was moved to an orphanage in Safed and later moved to the Meir-Shfeya Children's Village near Zichron Yaakov. She was trained as an actor and worked as a kindergarten teacher in the '30s and '40s, when she began creating poems, songs and dances as materials for her students. After WWII, she met a group of young Yemenite immigrants who eventually became the core of Inbal Dance Theatre. Upon establishment of the State of Israel, prominent Jewish choreographer Jerome Robbins was invited to advise the Norman Fund (now the America-Israel Cultural Fund) regarding which dance institutions to support. He discovered Sara Levi- Tanai and recommended the fuinding of Inbal, which was still in its infancy.
Sara Levi -Tanai's greatness lies in her successful integration of Yemenite Jewish culture into the Israeli cultural mainstream and her talent for transforming authentic folk material into modern stage art. Dora Sowden (Jerusalem Post) wrote, "The Story Of Ruth is not a folk dance, nor even ethnic dance. It is art dance that belongs here and remains a source of our heritage and pride, created with genius."

Nestled in the picturesque Suzanne Dellal Center, lnbal Dance Theatre, founded fifty years ago by Israel Prize Laureate Sara Levi-Tanai, is a mirror of the "old-new" Israel. Inbal's unique style, praised by the likes of Martha Graham and Jerome Robbins, uses modern dance to depict the clash between modernity and tradition. Many of the dances are based on Biblical themes, such as the Song of Songs, The Story of Ruth or Winged Letters. Some dances, such as "Sajarra," depict the conflict between tradition and modernization. Others illustrate the beauty of the many ethnic cultures and Jewish traditions.
For generations, Inbal Dance Theatre has served as a cultural institution rooted in Jewish values and its dances have become an Israeli national cultural treasure. Thanks to Inbal, the music and culture of Yemenite Jewry, as well as Israel's other Middle Eastern communities, has greatly influenced both Israeli culture and Jewish culture at large. The spirit of Inbal has stimulated many prominent artists and raised interest worldwide in Jewish and Israeli folklore. The company has toured extensively in Europe, Asia and the United States. Over the past several years, it has worked with internationally renowned choreographers, including Japan's Kei Takei and South Africa's Vincent Mantesoe, who have injected an international flavor to the company.
Since 1996, the company's General Manager and Artistic Director has been Chaim Shiran, who is Moroccan-born, a Paris-trained actor and a founder of Israel Educational Television. He left a successful film career in 1982 for a two-year sabbatical in which he managed the company for two years and prevented it from closing down. Among his other works, Shiran was initiator of the Sephardic-Jewish film festivals that were held in New York in 1989, 1992 and 1994. Upon returning to Inbal in 1996, he reinvisioned the company as Ethnic Arts Center, Inbal, mobilizing the "spirit of Inbal" into a multicultural, multi-arts institution that produces two music, literature, poetry and dance festivals each year. This multi-arts center is widely considered to be more successful than Inbal had been alone, since it produces more programs and generates greater involvement of Israel's many different ethnic communities. Its outreach to the world has also been noteworthy: recent productions have featured Jewish Ladino singers from Bulgaria, Jewish Tango artists from South America, and various kinds of performances by Jewish artists from Africa, Bako (Afghanistan), Andalusia and Iraq.
Shiran sees his mission as to preserve the classical dances of Sara Levi-Tanai for future generations while initiating and doing new work. He has a special interest in the oriental arts, which are the most frequent subject of his films. He is preserving "everything that goes on" at Inbal on videotape.

This is the third production in a mini-festival of three Israeli performance events being presented during La MaMa's 40th Anniversary Season. From January 24 to February 3, La MaMa will present the Netela Theatre of Jerusalem in "Bavel," the first play by Ethiopian Israeli artists to reach our shores. It exemplifies a new and provocative brand of theater that uses traditional Ethiopian music and storytelling in a modern context. From December 20 to 30, La MaMa presented "Briah" (Creation) by Israeli playwright Yossefa Even-Shoshan directed by Geula Jeffet Attar, a play dealing with the subject of creation through the life-story of Shlomo Ibn-Gabirol, the greatest of the Spanish poets of the Golden Age, who created a woman for himself out of his longing and feverish artistic imagination. Inbal Dance Theatre Website

2002 page