Ruth Eshel

Dr. Ruth Eshel has a rich background in performance and research in dance. She danced and choreographed many multi‐disciplinary solo recitals (1977‐1987) and received her Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University’s Theatre Department; her dissertation was entitled “Movement-Theatre in Israel 1976-1991.” Eshel has been a field researcher for the Israel Dance Archive at Beit Ariella (1991‐1995) and a lecturer on the history of dance and dance in Israel at Haifa University (1991‐2005). She went on to research the dance of Ethiopian Jews and established the contemporary Ethiopian dance troupes Eskesta (at the University of Haifa, 1995-2010) and Beta (2010 - 2015). Her film Shoulder Dancing, about her life project with the Ethiopians, opened the Addis Ababa International film festival in 2015. She was co‐editor of Israel Dance Quarterly (1993‐1998), the founding editor of Mahol Akhshav (Dance Today) – The Dance Magazine of Israel (2000-present), and dance critic for Ha'aretz Daily (1991-2017). Her website “Israel Dance Diaries” includes all articles in Israel Dance Annual, Israel Dance Quarterly, and Mahol Akhshav. Eshel is the author of Dancing with the Dream- The Development of Artistic Dance in Israel 1920-1964 (1991) and Dance Spreads its Wings – Israeli Concert Dance 1920‐2000 (2016). She received the Minister of Culture's () and the Israel Artists Organization Lifetime Achievement Award in Artistic Dance. After 40 years she returned to performance at the age of 76 to dance her solo Cloak of Stones.

Articles by this author

Ruth Ziv-Ayal

Ruth Ziv-Ayal, a director and choreographer, is a pioneer in Israeli experimental movement theater. Her early work was characterized by the use of everyday materials such as household tools, newspapers, and balls, while her later work expanded to use materials such as soil, sand, water, bread, and clothing.

Berta Yampolsky

Berta Yampolsky was dancer, choreographer, and artistic director. With her husband Hillel Markman, she founded the Israel Ballet.

Mirali Sharon

Mirali Sharon was one of Israel’s most important choreographers in the 1970s and 1980s. Her work is characterized by organic integration of music, costume, and décor, with the dance being the outcome of the composer-designer-scenarist-choreographer composite as one fertile, creative team.

Rina Schenfeld

Rina Schenfeld is an Israeli dancer and choreographer who uses objects of daily life to build a world of poetry and dance. She was a principal dancer in Batsheva Dance Company in the 1960s and 1970s and later established the Rina Schenfeld Dance Theater.

Bethsabée Rothschild

Bethsabée (Hebrew: Batsheva) de Rothschild, the scion of a well-known philanthropic family, helped support numerous activities in the United States and Israel, especially dance, music, and science.She created the Batsheva and Bat-Dor dance companies and was awarded the Israel Prize in 1989 for her special contribution to Israeli society.

Oshra Elkayam-Ronen

Oshra Elkayam-Ronen is an Israeli dancer and choreographer who belongs to the pioneer generation of Israeli movement theater; she was one of the important Israeli choreographers in this style in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1984, she established her own troupe, which includes artists from different theater disciplines.

Dance in the Yishuv and Israel

Artists began to try to create a new Hebrew dance in the 1920s. Israeli Expressionist Dance flourished first, followed by American modern dance. Israeli dance became professionalized and centralized, and over the past few decades, efforts to promote local creativity accelerated, ethnic dance companies have flourished, and choreographers have taken increasingly political stances.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

Read the latest from JWA from your inbox.

sign up now

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Eshel." (Viewed on April 16, 2024) <>.