Yardena Cohen

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Judith Brin Ingber

Judith Brin Ingber is a dancer, choreographer, writer, and dance historian who fostered the contemporary research field of Jewish dance studies. Ingber established conversations regarding how dance is a Jewish cultural phenomenon. She fostered multiple generations of Jewish dance researchers, students, dancers, and writers.

Rina Yerushalmi

Theater director and choreographer Rina Yerushalmi, one of Israel’s leading artists, is the founder and artistic director of the experimental Itim Theater Ensemble. Her unique theatrical language is based on visual images that present the classical texts in a new light, making them acute and relevant. Yerushalmi currently serves as Professor of Theater at Tel Aviv University.

Rina Nikova

Rina Nikova, a pioneer of classical and biblical ballet in Palestine, distinguished herself mostly in character dances, which had a nationalist style influenced by ethnic folklore. Nikova established the first school for classical ballet in Tel Aviv and founded the Biblical Ballet, which was based on Yemenite folklore and focused on Biblical subjects.

Israeli Folk Dance Pioneers in North America

Dance has been an integral element of the Jewish community since biblical times. An intense desire to share the joy of dance, coupled with a strong identification with both Israel and their Jewish roots, spurred a group of influential women to create a flourishing movement of Israeli folk dance in North America. Today, Israeli folk dance enjoys a wider popularity than ever.

Hebrew Theater: Yishuv to the Present

Of all the theatrical professions, only actresses were truly partners in the enterprise of reviving Hebrew culture in the early twentieth century, and only in the 1980s did women writers and directors begin to work in Israeli theater. In the last few decades of the twentieth century and the first few decades of the twenty first, howeverwomen playwrights and directors have taken on increasingly prominent roles.

Folk Dance, Israeli

Folk dances in Israel are a staple of the national and cultural consciousness and were largely created and performed by women. The halutzim's festival pageants, combined with dance traditions brought to Israel from the Diaspora, led to the creation of many beautiful folk dances. Today there are over three thousand Israeli folk dances.

Community Dance Practices in the Yishuv and Israel: 1900-2000

Women have been at the forefront of preserving community dance practices in Israel. In the 1970s Gurit Kadman worked with ethnomusicologist Dr. Esther Gerson-Kiwi to collect, document, and study ethnic music and dance practices in Israel. Eventually elements of ethnic dances were incorporated into the canon of Israeli folk dance.

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.

Yardena Cohen

Incorporating biblical themes and Sephardic music into her dances, Yardena Cohen helped create a uniquely Israeli artistic culture. Cohen opened her Haifa dance studio in 1933 and maintained it for some seventy years, stressing creative dance. She continued to teach well into her nineties and in 2010 was awarded the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement.

Yehudit Arnon

After surviving the Holocaust and immigrating to Palestine, Yehudit Arnon played an influential role in shaping modern dance in Israel. In 1948 Arnon and her husband helped to smuggle more than 100 orphaned children to Palestine and settled in Kibbutz Ga'aton, where she founded the  Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. 


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