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Art from across the world brings new life to the Holy capital at this year's Jerusalem Arts Festival

Art from across the world brings new life to the Holy capital at this year's Jerusalem Arts Festival
© Rune Abro - Abstreet Productions
While Jerusalem prides itself on being the city for color, culture and a unique boiling pot of energies, the moment the annual Jerusalem Festival kicks in every year, the creativity is turned all the way up to 11. Reeling in artists from across the world, the festival plays host to art galleries, dance troupes, performances and spectacles that will make it look like the restless creative attitude of Tel Aviv has been picked up and plonked straight into the heart of this grand biblical city.
Over the course of one week, Jerusalem’s major concert halls and theatres are filled with throngs of eager attendees – both Jerusalemites and visitors – as 34 plays, dance shows and routines take place over the course of a week. Some shows are free, while others are sold at pretty affordable prices. Either way, whichever shows you choose to see will leave you with an impression of Jerusalem that you wouldn’t be able to attain at any other time throughout the year. So, without further ado, here are Time Out's top 5 shows (not in any particular order) that we certainly wouldn’t advise you to miss this year.
Divano Swing
Swing dancing with a combination of history and culture that cannot be seen in any other part of the world
Get ready to witness dancing in the Holy City like you’ve never experienced before. Based on a rather creative combination, Divano Swing is a Jerusalem gypsy-style swing ensemble, which fuses the familiar American swing of the 1930s (that Hollywood movies have all too commonly tried to popularize) with gypsy music. Be prepared to have your swing dancing standards raised, as this tour-de-force will both inspire you to pick up swing-dancing classes and simultaneously make you question how you previously associated a dance with one particular country.
Date: March 28
Location: The Jerusalem Theatre, 20 David Marcus St, Jerusalem
Cost: Free
An Hour and a Minute
Old and new works of art designed to redesign your mind
“You are invited to lose the sense of time, among the works from various artistic media, which are scattered, and sometimes hidden, in the museum’s space.” This is the official, and rather mysterious, description released by the company hosting this extravagant and fascinating series of artworks. Blending modern art with the museum’s daily exhibitions, this exhibit’s mission is to indulge you like you’ve never experienced it before and have your mind and imagination broadened beyond what you thought it was capable of. Abstract, original and extremely thought-provoking, this is one exhibition that is highly likely to not only change the way you think about Jerusalem and Israeli society, but also about the entire planet we inhabit.
One hour and a minute

© Moran Duvshani

Date: April 4
Time: 21:00
Location: The L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art, 21 Shmuel Stephan Weiz St, Jerusalem
Price: N/A (box office only)
Children’s Stories Come to Life
Stories that will make adults laugh and their children laugh harder
As with most other events making appearances throughout the year, it wouldn’t be a Jerusalem festival without those friendly for the entire family. As such, there’s not just one, but two performances for children taking place across the festival – the first on March 29th and the second on April 3rd. On each day, you’ve got the choice of visiting either the Mikro or the Jerusalem Theatre lobby, where children’s tales such as ‘Shira’s New House,’ ‘Good Children,’ and ‘Flute and Piano go on a Trip,’ all come to life in an exciting blend of song and dance that will bring enjoyment and laughter to not only kids, but also parents.
Date: March 29, April 3
Time: Mikro – 17:00, Jerusalem Theatre lobby – 18:15
Location: Mikro Theatre / Jerusalem Theatre lobby: 20 David Marcus St, Jerusalem
Price: Free-NIS 25 (depending on the performance)
Jerusalem’s Seventy Faces
A 5000-year-old history, summed up in one mesmerizing performance
Once again returning to the fun-for-the-entire-family experience, this time we’re changing from children’s tales to city tales, as this performance of song and story takes us on an epic journey throughout the history of Jerusalem. Using innovative dance, ‘Jerusalem’s Seventy Faces’ paints a story of characters, buildings, religions, ideas, and nations. Sung by the Shoronim Children’s Choir and performed by the Merhav Dance Ensemble and the Gonenim Dance Department, Director Avital Hirsch has created a charming and educational tale, where flawlessly inventive song and dance enables you to understand the complex history of this 5000-year-old city through a lens never experienced before.
Seventy faces

© Izhar Florsheim

Date: April 2
Time: 17:30
Location: Gerard Bechar Center, Betsal'el St 11, Jerusalem
Price: NIS 50
One. One & One
Society, spirituality and the self: all merge together in an artistic battle over your senses
Brought to you by the brilliant mind of renowned choreographer Noa Wertheim (whose internationally famous dance group ‘The Vertigo Dance Company’ has performed nineteen dance shows to date), ‘One. One & One’ is a masterful dance act that addresses themes as diverse as each person’s yearning for unity, the influence of separation on human space, existentialism and spirituality. Created to celebrate 25 years of ‘The Vertigo Dance Company,’ the show is also a sensory experience, as over the course of this exhilarating performance, the dancers cover the stage with soil.  With powerful and compelling music composed by Avi Balali, ‘One. One & One’ experiments with visual performance, sounds and smells that actually challenges the viewer’s own imagination. Out of all the shows you may find yourself watching this week, this will be one of the ones leaving the audience's interpretation most divided.
One. One & one

© Rune Abro - Abstreet Productions


Date: March 28
Location: The Jerusalem Theatre, 20 David Marcus St, Jerusalem
Cost: NIS 90
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