There is a season

Octogenarian Rina Schenfeld dances like a child in 2 new pieces

Veteran dancer premieres a solo choreographed to Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons,’ a performance by her dance group to the lyrics of poet Meredith Monk

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Octogenarian dancer Rina Schenfeld dances the seasons in 'In My Room,' premiering January 6 and 7, 2023. (Courtesy PR)
Octogenarian dancer Rina Schenfeld dances the seasons in 'In My Room,' premiering January 6 and 7, 2023. (Courtesy PR)

Octogenarian dancer Rina Schenfeld will premiere two new works, including a solo to Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” during a weekend of dance at the Inbal Theater.

The two pieces will be performed Friday and Saturday, January 6 and 7, at the Inbal Theater on the campus of Tel Aviv’s Suzanne Dellal Center in Neve Tzedek.

“In My Room,” Schenfeld’s new solo work, is performed to Italian composer Vivaldi’s well-known violin concertos, each of which is musically dedicated to a season of the year.

In her solo piece, Schenfeld dances the seasons accompanied by her partners – six walls, two tables and three chairs. She breaks with convention, knocking down barricades, walking across walls, and moving through the seasons of life.

Her second piece, “Maybe Not,” will be performed by the Rina Schenfeld Dance Group to the songs of poet, musician and multidisciplinary artist Meredith Monk.

Monk’s lyrics refer to last chances, last dances, last minutes, last laughter, last rounds, last suppers, last words, and last breaths, and will accompany dancers Johanna Offer, Ayala Ya’akov, Lena Rykner, Denise Klein, Dorit Kochavi, and guest artist Misoo Soe, as they move and improvise, holding a torch of fire in their hands at the end of the dance choreographed by Schenfeld.

“I always quote Picasso, who said ‘It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child,'” said Schenfeld. She said it took her “10 years to learn to dance like Martha Graham” — considered the creator of modern dance and whom Schenfeld often refers to as her “spiritual mother” — and a lifetime to learn to dance like a child.

Schenfeld, now 84, and the former prima ballerina and choreographer of the Batsheva Dance Company, said she is no longer interested in grand, important compositions that are aesthetically and technically perfect. All she seeks is natural, human simplicity that is innovative in a dance’s movements.

The weekend of Schenfeld’s premieres is being hosted by the Inbal Dance Theater, Israel’s first and oldest modern dance company, started in 1949 under the mentorship of Jerome Robbins, who staged many of the company’s largest works. The theater is now directed by Barak Marshall, son of Margalit Oved, the Inbal’s principal dancer for its first 15 years of existence.

The works will be performed on Friday, January 6 at 1 p.m. and Saturday, January 7 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost NIS 55 to NIS 80 and can be purchased online.

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