This year, the Karmiel Dance Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary. The festival is a celebration of folkloristic dance combining dance events open for the public and dance performances by ensembles from Israel and around the world. During the three - day festival, folk dance enthusiasts from throughout the country will descend on Karmiel; over 250,000 visitors are expected to show their love for Israel and in particular, Israeli dance.
From the very first dance festival, an emphasis was placed upon bringing professional dance ensembles from abroad, and on performances by premier dance troupes from throughout Israel to strengthen their acquaintance with the State of Israel and the city of Karmiel, through the arts.
In November 2011 Lilach Waxman Rana visited Pittsburgh, within the framework of the existing relationship between Karmiel, Misgav and Pittsburgh in the Partnership2Gether program of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Lilach is a member of the Partnership's Joint Steering Committee and works for the City of Karmiel Special Events Department. She arrived in Pittsburgh as part of a delegation that met with various organizations to identify potential cooperation in the fields of community, sports, culture and the arts. Her visit led subsequently to success on the part of festival organizers to bring the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, with support from the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, for a first ever tour of Israel."Before my visit to Pittsburgh", Lilach recounts, "I told Aaron Solomon, the festival's Executive Director, that I was interested in meeting with representatives of the Pittsburgh Ballet in order to introduce them to the festival and attempt to bring them to perform in Israel for the first time. The Partnership and contacts between our communities has existed for more than 17 years and I thought it would be interesting and exciting that a professional dance ensemble from Pittsburgh, a city that many in the area are acquainted with through P2G activities, would appear in the region's premier annual event. Fortunately, with the help and contacts of Tzippy Gur from Pittsburgh and the support of many good friends from the Partnership, the Jewish Community and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the visit became a reality and we are happy to host the ensemble for the festival's 25th anniversary."
Many troupes and ensembles performed this year at the festival from around the world, including France, China, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, and of course the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre! The performance was special and exciting. At the conclusion of the performance, Harris Ferris, the company's Executive Director noted, "the continuous and enthusiastic applause by the audience ignited the dancers, who gave the most of themselves".
The Ballet's performance received a lot of attention in the press, including local TV coverage on the early Sunday morning show "Sunday Business Page" on KDKA, Pittsburgh's CBS news affiliate. Pittsburgh Partnership Co-Chair Cindy Goodman-Leib was interviewed during the segment. The two principal dancers, Harris Ferris, the Ballet's executive director, and Tomer Hoffman of the Karmiel Youth Department were interviewed prior to the Ballet's arrival in Israel for a segment on Pittsburgh's local National Public Radio station, WQED. Tomer was in Pittsburgh at the time for the annual performance by Spirit of Israel dance troupe. The group had the opportunity to meet the Ballet and perform for them during their visit here in April.
Other PBT in Karmiel press coverage:
To the PBT on Tour' Blog
Pictures at Facebook
Article at Pittsburgh Post Gazette' newpaper
Alexandra Kochis, a principal dancer with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, wrote this article after returning from the PBT's Aug. 4-12 trip to the Karmiel Dance Festival in Israel.