White Bird to present ‘New Israeli Voices in Dance’

Portland State is rolling out the red carpet for promising, emerging choreographers in New Israeli Voices in Dance, a U.S. premiere performance at Lincoln Performance Hall from March 19–22.

The performance will be presented by White Bird dance company. Ticket prices range between $25 and $30. Students receive an additional 20 percent discount.

New Israeli Voices in Dance is a creative collaboration with esteemed Israeli choreographers Hillel Kogan, rehearsal director of renowned Batsheva Dance Company, and Danielle Agami, former Batsheva dancer.

Together, they will be showcasing two powerful performances highlighting the best dancers Israel has to offer.

Batsheva Dance Company, formed in 1964 and, based in Tel Aviv, is internationally known as the greatest contemporary dance company in Israel. Their dances often break through barriers of physical, political and social boundaries.

Tere Mathern, both dance professor at PSU and artistic director of Conduit dance, has high hopes for this performance.

“Given the work of Batsheva, I anticipate intense physicality and embodiment of the movement and expect to be impressed by the dancers’ skill and emotional [and] physical investment in the dance,” Mathern said. “I am sure it will be sophisticated on one level, but also accessible in how content of the work comes through containing surprises, potentially humor and fantastic dancing.”

In this shared performance, Kogan will present his beloved piece We Love Arabs, an award-winning duet displaying the complex and sometimes comical relationship between Arab and Jewish culture.

Mixing political conflict with sharp and intense movements, Kogan pushes ideas and traditions.

Known to incorporate moments of humor into his choreography, Kogan has been reported to use hummus on stage for We Love Arabs, and even pass out pita bread to lucky audience members in the front row.

Agami, with her bold and energetic choreography, has been commissioned by White Bird to showcase her Los Angeles based dance company Ate9 in a new piece titled EXHIBIT b.

Agami trained with the Batsheva company for eight years before branching off to create her own work and company.

Scott Lewis, executive director of the NW Dance Project, worked with Agami in 2013.

“Danielle comes into the studio with a well-formed idea of what she is going to build with the dancers,” Lewis said. “She’s very focused and serious and quiet, so much so that sometimes it felt like we were in a library or a church. But, as with most people, once you get to know her a bit you find there is a very kind, considerate and sharply funny side to her as well.”

Having the skill to mix technique with humor into a tightly choreographed piece requires astounding grace and agility. Her ability to articulate feelings into movement is an incredible process.

“Her movement style is fluid and fascinating, and, when she’s on the stage, you can’t keep your eyes off her,” Lewis said. “It’s the same case in the studio even when she is creating rather than dancing.”

Audience members can expect that same fluidity and passion in her premiere of EXHIBIT b.