Live dance performances
Professional and international dance performances are regularly held in Be’er-Sheva at the Center for the Performing Arts (on Rager Blvd.), which offers an annual dance series, including a variety of dance troupes in different dance styles from Be’er-Sheva, Israel and abroad.
The Be’er-Sheva “MiKan” (lit., from here) Fringe Theater (founded 2010) is located in a cheerful blue building in the Old City. It promotes ‘fringe’ art, music, drama & dance, and holds all manner of open public events, including special events and activities for children and an annual International Fringe Festival (IFF) – http://www.iffb7.com, 08-6466657.
In 2016, Beershevan choreographer & entrepreneur Liran Mikhaeli initiated, with the support of the City of Be’er-Sheva & the International Fringe Theater, the first “Fringe Dance Competition,” open to all original works by independent Israeli choreographers and dancers. In 2017, the winning dance “Orpheo,“ created by Idan Cohen won the 10,000 NIS Best Fringe Dance Prize; the dance “Eshte’olah” created by Sivan Peled won the 2,000 NIS “Kivunim” Unique Dance Prize; and the Outstanding Dancer Award went to Dana Zekharyah.
Adult dance troupes/companies
“Kamea“ (lit., talisman; founded 2002) Modern Dance Company is an internationally acclaimed dance troupe born at the Bat Dor Be’er-Sheva Municipal Dance Center in the Gimel neighborhood at 13 ha-Shalom St. “Kamea” performs original choreographies (mostly choreographed by award-winning Tamir Ginz) in the Be’er-Sheva Hall for the Performing Arts, as part of the annual dance series, across Israel, and around the world. Occasionally, they perform special dance shows for a young audience. “Kamea” performed at the prestigious Almada International Dance Festival in August 2017, despite BDS threats. On October 23rd, 2017, “Kamea,” together with a guest choir “Kantorei Barmen-Gemark” with German opera soloists (from Be’er-Sheva‘s sister city Wuppertal, Germany) and a guest orchestra Bayer’s “L’Arte del Mondo” (from Leverkusen, Germany) premiered a new Ginz choreography entitled: “St. Matthew Passion 2727” to Johann Sebastian Bach‘s sacred oratorio. The music for their latest piece “Mnemosyne” (2018), choreographed by Tamir Ginz, was specially composed by Avi Belleli.
In June 2017, “Kamea” held a special, open-to-the-public one-day happening, consisting of dance classes with the troupe’s dancers and well-known Israeli modern-dance choreographers Tamir Ginz & Ohad Naharin (originator of ‘gaga‘), & hip-hop master Tal Landsman, as well as intimate studio performances. It is hoped that this will become an annual event. As of 2017, the 17 dancers in “Kamea” are: Ofek Admoni, Adi Avitan, Sagi Baleli, Jonatan Bukschtein, Noa Dahan, Tom David, Marco De Alteriis, Noam Ephron, Lorris Eichinger, Eldar Elgrably, Einav Kringel, Alma Lauer, Lou Landre, Rona Lerner, Roni Sheps, Peter Starr, and Elliot Thompson – 08-6231521, http://www.kameadance.com.
The BGU student modern dance company “Pola” (named after Paula Ben-Gurion; founded 2009). It has given modern dance performances of original choreographies (mostly choreographed by Dedi Alufer & Eyal Dadon): on the BGU Campus; in the Be’er-Sheva Hall for the Performing Arts; and at the “MiKan” Fringe Theater. “Pola” was the only Israeli dance troupe invited to perform at the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe (though they did not attend for security reasons) – in.bgu.ac.il/Dekanat/Pages/dance.aspx.
“Sol” Dance Company (founded 2016), an alternative modern dance ensemble comprising 8 dancers, is temporarily located at the “MiKan” Fringe Theater in the Old City until the House of Dance is ready (an Ottoman-Turlisk building currently under renovation on Gershon St.). The dancers include: Roni Ben Shimon, Eyal Dadon, Nadav Gal, Madison Hoke, Yuko Imazaike, Sian Olles, Shay Partush, & Gil Shachar. Choreographers: CEO Dedi Alufer (b.1973-) & Eyal Dadon (b.1989-). “Sol” has given excellent performances in Israel and joint performances with the Beijing Dance Theater in China. Time Out Shanghai magazine dedicated an article to Sol, to choreographer Dedi Alufer & to the dance entitled “Mekhirat hisul” (lit., sell-out sale)– http://www.sol-dance-company.org, 050-4448437.
Childrens’ performing dance groups
“Dorot” Modern Dance Company (founded 1995) at the Makif Gimel High-School and the NOA Dance Ensemble at the Makif Aleph High-School were both established by Be’er-Sheva-born dancer-choreographer Dedi Alufer (b.1973-), who also produced a number of musicals from 1999 and is currently the CEO of the “Sol” Dance Company (founded 2016). The Dance Center at Makif Gimel is currently directed by local classical ballet dancer & choreographer Yishai Kersanti (b.1986-).
“Holit” (lit., sand dune; founded 2005) – Israeli and Modern Dance Theater, consisting of hundreds of young dancers from Be’er-Sheva’s high-schools. “Holit” performances combine many styles of dance to create prize-winning dance-theater choreographies (mostly by Liran Michaely) that are performed across Israel and abroad – 054-2202088.
“Shalvah” – Georgian Folk-Dance Troupe (founded 1973) was named after the late founder, Shalvah Ephremashvili. The dancers are mainly family members plus other Georgian dancers. Director, choreographer: David Ephremashvili – 052-2709699, 08-6414051.
“Ayalot ha-Negev” (lit., Negev gazelles; founded 1980) Israeli Representative Folk-Dance Ensemble, consists of hundreds of young dancers from the 1st-12th grades (divided by age into four performing troupes) and has represented Be’er-Sheva and the State of Israel on Israeli television and at festivals and in folk-dance competitions (like Folkmoot) in over 78 countries the world-over, often winning prizes. In 2016, they represented Israel in an international “Grand Pris” children’s dance competition in Bulgaria, where they won both prizes and accolades. Choreographies by Moti Alkis and others – 050-5516015, 08-6433866.
In addition, “Kivunim” – the municipal company for recreation culture in Be’er-Sheva, has performing dance troupes for children & young people in various local community centers, such as: “Top Dance” (founded ca.2009), a municipal contemporary dance troupe – 052-3676438; “Pargod” (lit., curtain; founded 1980), a representative Be’er-Sheva urban dance troupe – 050-4448437, http://www.pargod.co.il; “Horah Alumot” (lit., sheaves’ horah; founded 2017) and “Horah ha-Yovel” (lit., the jubilee horah; founded 2017), both mixed Israeli folk-dance and movement troupes – 08-6433388.
Some key figures in promoting dance in Be’er-Sheva
The ‘father’ of Israeli folk-dancing in Be’er-Sheva and among the founders of the Association of Israeli Folk-Dance Instructors & Choreographers was Yossi Abuhav (1937-2019), who was the first Israeli folk-dancing instructor in the city and every Wednesday evening an ever-growing crowd gathered to learn and dance in circles, couples, and lines (debkas) with the warmhearted, charismatic instructor.
***The very evening of the Wednesday I had arrived as a new immigrant at the (now defunct) Altshuler Absorption Center in the Old City of Be’er-Sheva in August 1972, I had followed the music, found the folk-dancing, and joined Yossi‘s inner circle of dancers. I’d been doing Israeli folk-dancing since the age of 5 and was a U.S.-certified Fred Berk Israeli folk-dance instructor. To the surprise of all those present, I knew all the dances they were doing. Yossi had spotted me dancing in the outermost circle and had immediately put my knowhow to good use–using me as a dance-partner when teaching the couples dances and to replace him, on occasion, when he was ill or abroad. Once the other well-known Israeli instructors/choreographers heard that I was translating dances for Yossi to teach abroad, I was tasked with translating their new dances into English as well, so they might teach them at the Jewish summer camps, etc.; I was glad to be of service.
In 1974, Yossi and I [my name was Leah Pinhas at that time] were the only two Be’er-Sheva representatives to the Founding Conference that established the above Israeli Instructors’ Association. In 1975, Yossi initiated a local Israeli-Dance Instructors’ Certification Course, which I also completed for Israeli certification on the last day of my first 42-week long pregnancy–while having a contraction every 15-20 minutes throughout the practical dance test. When the late Bens Carmel issued me my Israeli instructor’s certificate at the end, he said he should have prepared another mini-certificate for my ‘inner dancer’…
Some of those who continue to carry the torch of Israeli folk-dancing, following in Yossi Abuhav‘s graceful and ethusiastic footsteps in Be’er-Sheva, are: Ori Yinon (b.1956-), Haim Vaknin, Gary Rom, Yom-Tov Ohayon, Moshe Kugman, David Ben-David, Rafi Ziv, Kobi Azulai, and many others, with much appreciated, expert choreographic help from frequent visitor Shlomo Maman. With every passing year, the number of accredited instructors and recognized choreographers has grown and there are new generations of dancers dancing all across the city throughout the year–in Be’er-Sheva, on any given week-night–there’s a group dancing somewhere in the city. This brings me great joy!
In fact, Yossi Abuhav‘s Be’er-Sheva-born son, Or Abuhav (b.1966-) began dancing folk-dancing in high-school and then studied classical dance at “Bat Dor.“ After his I.D.F. service, he was immediately welcomed into the “Bat Sheva” National (Representative) Modern Dance Troupe. Then, he danced in Europe with the Swiss Ballet Company and then Barcelona‘s “Metros” Company; finally returning to Israel to dance in the Kibbutz Ballet Company. At age 30, he retired as a performing dancer and went to study dance instruction at the Laban Center in London. Afterwards, Or returned to Be’er-Sheva to serve as ‘rehearsal master’ at “Bat Dor“ (2008-2015) and between 2005-2014, he choreographed 5 dances for “Kamea” special children’s matinees. Since 2015, Or is the Director of the Bat Dor Be’er-Sheva Municipal Dance Center.
Adar Meron (b.1980-, in Be’er-Sheva) studied flamenco culture in Spain and brought it back to Be’er-Sheva and Israel. In 2012, she first brought 4 flamenco dancers from Spain to perform in Israel. Now, as a trained falmenco dancer, teacher & choreographer, she has her own flamenco dance school in Be’er-Sheva, manages a flamenco dance troupe and mucial ensemble, and produces flamenco cultural performances.
Eyal Dadon (b.1989- in Be’er-Sheva) is a graduate of Bat Dor and is a modern dancer/choreographer who has created choreographies for the BGU student dance troupe “Pola” and who dances in and choreographs works for the “MiKan” Fringe Theater’s dance troupe “Sol.” He has danced in “Kamea” and in the “Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company.” In 2013, his dance solo “Intro” won the first prize in Eurograde, Bulgaria and in 2015, his work “Pishpesh” took first prize at the “International Choreography Dance Competition” held in Hannover, Germany. Dadon has also produced choreographies, such as the dance “Same, same” for the prestigious Stanislavski Ballet of Moscow that won the 2017 “Russian Creation of the Year” Prize. Dadon‘s works have been and are also currently being performed in China, Germany, Hungary, Russia and elsewhere across the globe – https://www.eyaldadon.com.
The “Bat Dor” Be’er-Sheva Municipal Dance Center (founded 1973), currently located in the Gimel neighborhood (13 ha-Shalom St.), has a professional staff that teaches classical ballet, modern and contemporary dance mostly to children and young people – 08-6231521. There is also a class for adult & retired dancers taught by former “Kamea” dancer and now ‘rehearal master’, Eyal Ganon (in which I’m honored to participate). As of 2017, “Bat Dor” has taught over 11,000 dance students, has produced a world-renowned Be’ershevan dance company “Kamea” and world-class dancers, such as: Or Abuhav — Swiss Ballet; Sivan Barkai – Ballet de Monte Carlo; Natanel Bellaish – Broadway New York, winner of Israel’s “Born to Dance 3;” Eyal Dadon, Dani Eshel, Oz Mulai, Anat Oz – Kibbutz Dance Co.; Aviad Herman – Gothenberg Opera Ballet; Lior Horev & Gili Neria– Israel Ballet; Shimon Kalichman – Royal Ballet; Yishai Kersanti — Israel Opera Project; Lior Lev – Stuttgart Ballet; Amir Levy – New York Metropolitan Opera Ballet; Rafi Saadi – Ballet Cullberg Sweden; Leah Yanai – Gothenberg Opera Ballet; and dancer-choreographers like: Or Abuhav, Eyal Dadon, Rafi Saadi, and others. In 2018, “Bat Dor” ballerina, Lior Sheiner won 1st place in the Vancliffen “Attilas Akilas Silvester” International Ballet Competition held in Pietra Ligure, Italy.
“Kivunim” – the municipal company for recreation culture in Be’er-Sheva offers an assortment of dance classes in all the community centers (mostly for children and young people, but some also for adults): ballroom dancing, belly dancing, Indian classical dance, Israeli folk-dancing, salsa and zumba classes, ballet, modern & jazz classes, breakdance, hip-hop, etc. – 08-6290060, ww.kivunim7.co.il/hugim. Israeli folk-dancing classes & sessions for adults, given by nationally accredited instructors, are also held at night in various high-school sports halls.
There are also a number of private fitness & dance studios, usually located in the Be’er-Sheva malls, that also offer an assortment of dance classes, for example: “Shape” Art & Wellness Studio in the Aviha Mall – http://www.shape.2ya.com; “Kesem ha-Guf” (lit., the magic of the body), Center for Dance & Movement, that provided contemporary dancers for several TV shows and national and international events, located in Ne’ot Lon neighborhood – 08-6102998; and the “Dan Odiz College,” Studio for Dance Studies, that specializes in hip-hop and street dance, located in the “BIG” commercial center – 054-5850318, http://www.danodiz.co.il; and “Top Dance” at 54 Histadrut St., 052-3676438, and more.
Places for social dancing
The “Forum” Discotheque (opened 1988), located in structure no. 232 in the Kiryat Yehudit Commercial Area, is ranked as one of the 3 best discos in Israel. It’s open from 22.30 on Thursdays to 5:00 A.M. on Fridays and from Friday nights at 23:00 to 6:00 A.M. on Saturdays. It has 4 different halls: the main hall, the “Factor” dance bar, a gallery area, and the “Summer Factor,” each with different music and styles. There are special night shuttles to-and-from the Forum to prevent drunk or exhausted young drivers from taking the wheel – 08-6262555, www.facebook.com/forumclu.
“Back Yard Dance Bar,” exclusive members-only dance-bar & nightclub for the over-35s and ‘old fogies’, open Friday nights from 22:00 to dawn, with a live DJ. The entrance fee includes a drink and an open buffet. The dance music is nostalgic and covers a wide selection of styles, ranging from oldies-but-goodies and classic ballroom to Latin & Middle Eastern music. Located in the Rassco Center at 6 ha-Tikvah St. – 054-2643060.
The “Terminal” Russian Dance Bar with a former Soviet D.J. and a constant flow of alcoholic beverages (not suited to those who are sensitive to high decibels and cigarette smoke), located at 61 Herzl St. in the Old City. Open every Thursday-Saturday from 23:30-5:00 A.M. – 054-468-9644.
Dancewear and gear
Isradance (founded 1978) is located inside Aluf ha-Sport in “BIG” – 08-6231488 or 08-6287487.