Avi Levy

 

Through his dream of creating dances to the music he loves, Avi Levy has also discovered about life.

DOTA: When did you first start dancing?

AL: When I was young, I knew all the time I was going to be a dancer. It was one of my dreams actually, to be a teacher and to be a choreographer. It started when I was 9 or 10 years old. I started dance, just Israeli folk dance, nothing else. It developed from that point until now. I never danced other styles.

DOTA: Where?

AL: In Ashdod, in Israel. I started in a performing dance group called Gvanim ( Gvanim the Hebrew word for “hues.) Here in Ashdod many Israelis, in the first Aliyiah, came from so many countries, from Russia, Morocco, Yemen, and that’s why it was called Gvanim. Until I was 24 or 25, I traveled all over the world with the group to perform. It was beautiful. I knew all the time, that at one point of my life I would be a choreographer. It came true!

DOTA: What was your first experience with choreography?

AL: My first experience was for my performing dance group, called Avivim, which means “youngsters” and they will always be youngsters for me! We were celebrating Yom Ha’atzma’ut. I was very excited to see my own work performed on stage.


Avivim – “The Mask Dance”

Photos courtesy Machol Miami

Avivim – “The Mask Dance”

Photos courtesy Machol Miami

DOTA: What is the age group?

AL: It’s changed a little bit. Now we have ages 6 up to 22. They are divided into 5 different groups, 6-9, 9-12, 12-15, 15-18 and 18-21.

DOTA: How do you select new students?

AL: This is the $1 million question. Actually, over the years I’ve learned so many things. The experience with them is worth everything in world. When you work with children you just check that they have coordination and good music sense. That’s what I check during the audition. There are 400-500 children who come to auditions. Unfortunately, I only take 20 or 30 of them because we have strong discipline in the performance dance group. If you want good results from teaching, you have to have strong discipline. I want the best quality. I give the opportunity once a year to come to audition.

DOTA: What have your students taught you?

AL: Life, in one word. About life. They have taught me everything, really. I don’t think I would have enough time to tell you.

DOTA: What was the first dance you choreographed for Israeli folk dancing?

AL: “ Tof Vekinor” (1997), drum and violin, that was my first one. It’s still my favorite.

 

Avi Levy (center) at Machol Miami

DOTA: Why?

AL: Because it was so “innocent” to do that. I came from stage performing. Creating dances for Israeli folk dancing is so different. If you know “Tof Vekinor,” you can understand that there is a different style from the other dances, even my other dances. Because it’s made with a lot of innocence, I was unfamiliar with the creation of Israeli folk dance. Another reason I like it so much, is that in this particular dance, I didn’t look at it from the point of view of the dancers. I see just myself. It was complete freedom to do whatever I wanted.

DOTA: Do you have a story about another dance you would like to share?

AL: Each one of my dances has their own special story. I hear music like Amarine. I love it so much. I was raised on this kind of music. I never thought to do a dance to this kind of music. But, my wife kept telling me all the time, ‘Why aren’t you doing a dance to this music, you always sing it in our home, but you never did a dance for this special music?’ I decided to create “Amarine” (2002). The meaning of the words are absolutely gorgeous I think.

DOTA: What about your partner dance, “Chabki Oti” (2001)?

AL: Once again, you can see that I have my unique style, to bring Oriental music to the Israeli folk dance. It’s one part of our culture. They are the Oriental North Africans of Israeli people here, like Morocco, Tunis, Algeria. I love it very much. That was basically the music when I was a child. I heard it all the time.

DOTA: Do you have other dances to this style of music?

AL: Yes, “ Casablanca” (1998), and “Amore,” (2001).

 

Avi Levy leading warm-up

DOTA: Do you have a favorite singer or composer?

AL: There is no one special that I would pick for their song. Basically it’s around oriental music. One point that I want to make here, I prefer to do dances from completely unusual music, not a hit. It’s not so special to create a dance to already hit music. I prefer to make a dance to completely strange music, and by this dance to bring it to a high level all over the world. It means a lot to me to make a good dance to this music.


Avi Levy will be a guest choreographer at Machol Miami 2005 
http://www.macholmiami.com/mm_2005.htm

Friday December 23 through Monday December 26, 2005
Sheraton Ft Lauderdale Airport Hotel 

Avi Levy leading his dance Tof Vekinor: 
http://homepage.mac.com/israeli_folk_dances/iMovieTheater34.html

Avi Levy leading his dance Amarine:
http://homepage.mac.com/israeli_folk_dances/iMovieTheater82.html

Lyrics/translation: 
http://www.hebrewsongs.com/song-amarine.htm

Avi Levy dancing his dance Chabki Oti:
http://homepage.mac.com/israeli_folk_dances/iMovieTheater83.html

Avi Levy leading his dance Casablanca:
http://homepage.mac.com/israeli_folk_dances/iMovieTheater156.html

Avi Levy dancing his couple dance Amore:
http://homepage.mac.com/israeli_folk_dances/iMovieTheater43.html

 

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