Jerusalem has major importance historically, religiously and socially; however, its place on Israel’s cultural map is no less significant. The city’s richness and cultural variety are inseparable from its identity and constitute a unique treasure. In addition to academic institutions such as Bezalel, Israel’s most important art academy, the Khan Theater, the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem has a wide range of cultural institutions. The Jerusalem Arts Festival is a central platform for the city’s cultural institutions and artists and thus the festival’s success and the immense artistic activity it generates contribute to the reinforcement of Jerusalem’s status as a major and exceptional international creative arts center. The 2016 Jerusalem Arts Festival, whose events (as in previous years) are spread over seven days from March 29 to April 5 and which is celebrating its 15th consecutive year, showcases productions in various artistic fields.
A magnet for artists, for people who love and support art, for entrepreneurs and for connoisseurs of culture from Israel and around the world, the Jerusalem Arts Festival is an excellent opportunity for the city’s institutions and artists from the worlds of theater, dance and visual art (installations, video films, movies, animation, painting, sculpture, photography, etc.) to display their original creations. In the course of the festival, there will be street performances for the general public and cultural events in many locations throughout Jerusalem alongside joint productions launched by different cultural institutions. A traditional feature of the festival, special cultural events will take place each evening during the festival and will be open to the general public (admission is free for these special nightly events); they will be held before and after performances in the Jerusalem Theatre. In 2015, over 34 artistic performances – theater, music, dance and vocal music – took place in auditoriums throughout the city – the Jerusalem Theatre, Beit Shmuel’s Hirsch Theater, the Gerard Bechar Center, the YMCA, Masie House, the Khan Theater, the Yellow Submarine, and other sites.
This year’s program is richly variegated and provides local artists with a meeting-place where they can work alongside international celebrities in the various artistic fields. The opening show, which will mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Kolben dance troupe, is a dance creation by choreographer Amir Kolben, who will present a dance performance that is strongly influenced by the power and charm of the cinematic world and which touches on the relationship between reality and imagination and between the real and the fantastic. “The Seventh Round of Dancing” is a dance performance by the Hallelu dance troupe and is a creation that reflects the influence of a traditional Hasidic wedding ceremony and which makes use of familiar rituals. During the festival there will be an animated film competition, Anima-Tech, with professionally produced films by important Israeli artists. In the context of the festival’s free-admission shows, visitors to the festival can enjoy a performance by Divano Swing, a Jerusalem gypsy-style swing ensemble that blends American swing of the 1930’s with gypsy music; well-known classical works in Spanish accompanied by flamenco dancers; an innovative and energetic jazz performance (including new and old creations) by the Ehud Atun trio; and performances by many other musicians. The festival’s closing show will take place in the Bible Lands Museum, which will be transformed for this event into a multidisciplinary artistic nightclub. “The unique glow of the ancient world will envelope the interior of the museum with an original interpretation of its exhibits alongside the creations of Jerusalem artists from the fields of dance, music, video art and vocal art,” promises the festival’s program, which you can download through the following link.