Choreographer to Bring Swan Lake to 5 Colleges
Israeli choreographer Idan Cohen’s
recent production of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s classic
ballet Swan Lake is a decidedly modernistic treatment,
sleek and brief in comparison to typical versions, brash
in its imagery and more abstract in the flow of the storyline.
Despite its artistic distinction, and perhaps because of
version of Swan Lake has enjoyed enormous success
in Israel and Europe.
will bring members of his company to the Five Colleges in
April for the United States premiere performance of his Swan
Cohen is visiting Smith and
Amherst colleges this semester as a Schusterman Visiting
Artist. The program brings Israeli artists to renowned institutions
in the United States with the intention of providing
opportunities for U.S. audiences to engage with contemporary
Scenes from Cohen's Swan
As part of his residency, Cohen
will host his first event at Smith on Monday, Feb. 15, when
he speaks on a variety of subjects, from Israeli art and
dance to his sources of creativity and inspiration, and ways
in which kibbutz socialist philosophy influences aesthetics
in dance and choreography. Cohen’s talk will
take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Seelye 106.
Cohen, whose residency is with
the Five College Dance Department and Smith and Amherst Hillels,
will hold subsequent master classes at other consortium colleges
throughout the spring semester.
At the end of his residency,
dancers from Cohen’s company will join him for the
local performance of Swan Lake, as well as a performance at the Center for Performance
Research in New York City.
“My version of Swan
Lake is definitely different from the original ballet,” commented
Cohen. “It speaks to different aspects and values of beauty and aesthetic than
those in the famous Swan Lake ballet [choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev
Ivanov]. It is full of things (like certain emotions and passions) that are not
usually considered to be ‘normal’ and expected behavior.”
Cohen joins seven other preeminent
Israeli artists as this year’s Schusterman
Artists, including: author Alex Epstein, one of Israel’s rising literary stars,
hosted by Denver University; filmmaker Ayelet Bargur, director of The
House on August Street, at the Pittsburgh Jewish and Israeli Film Festival; musician Amir
Gwirtzman, hosted by the Institute for Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, Miss.
“The importance and the beauty of the Schusterman Program is its concept of giving
and receiving,” said Cohen. “For example, I am here to give and share my movement
and my culture but also to develop as an artist. The beauty of it isn’t just
about the teaching or showing the work but in the inspiration I get from everyone
The Schusterman Visiting Artist
Program, partly funded by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman
Family Foundation, is one of the largest organized residency
programs for Israeli artists in the U.S. It awards Israeli
choreographers, musicians, writers and visual artists—two- to four-month residencies
at North American universities, museums, Jewish community centers and other cultural
organizations, with a focus on fostering interaction between the artists and
the communities where they are based.