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Ruth Eshel's new book DANCE SPREADS ITS WINGS chronicles Israeli Concert Dance 1920–2010

by Unknown
September 1, 2021
Click on PDF link below for full details
Ehsel-DanceSpreadsItsWings - Flyer.pdf
About this book

Why did dance and dancing became important to the construction of a new, modern, Jewish/Israeli cultural identity in the newly formed nation of Israel? There were questions that covered almost all spheres of daily life, including “What do we dance?” because Hebrew or Eretz-Israeli dance had to be created out of none. How and why did dance develop in such a way? Dance Spreads Its Wings is the first and only book that looks at the whole picture of concert dance in Israel studying the growth of Israeli concert dance for 90 years—starting from 1920, when there was no concert dance to speak of during the Yishuv (pre-Israel Jewish settlements) period, until 2010, when concert dance in Israel had grown to become one of the country’s most prominent, original, artistic fields and globally recognized. What drives the book is the impulse to create and the need to dance in the midst of constant political change. It is the story of artists trying to be true to their art while also responding to the political, social, religious, and ethnic complexities of a Jewish state in the Middle East.


"This book fills a critical gap both because no such comprehensive book on the topic has yet appeared and because Eshel’s work reveals the fascinations of an Israeli art genre, born only at the beginning of the twentieth century, that today has become a leading force in the dance worldwide. . . . As in her critical writing, Eshel’s writing in Dance Spreads Its Wings is marked by a rigorous search for words to express the movement language she is discussing in as fresh, tangible, and unmediated a manner as possible." – Einav Rosenblit, dance researcher and lecturer on dance and philosophy of the arts at the Tel Aviv University and Orot Israel Academic College of Education, Israel.

"Dance Spreads Its Wings is a preliminary essay—comprehensive, clear, interesting and in-depth on the formation and especially on the development of the dance field, as an important component of culture in Israel. Ruth Eshel’s research encompasses historical and social backgrounds, dialogue with other arts, especially a fascinating story, from pioneering to blossoming." – Dan Oryan, Head of the Department of Theater Studies at the Western Galilee Academic College, Israel.

"In the dance literature in Israel, there are not many studies based on long and thorough work. This book by Ruth Eshel presents basic questions about ninety years of stage dance in Israel while trying to understand the historical reasons, the social motives and the artistic tools." – Naomi Bahat, Head of the School of the Arts at the Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology and the Arts from 1978 to 2000, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Photo © & courtesy of Unknown

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