|Photo by Cataldo Montemurro|
Rina Schenfeld is one of the foremost dance artists in Israel. She established her reputation as a founding member and principal dancer of the Batsheva Dance Company from 1963 to 1979. In that period she manifested herself as an extraordinarily expressive and versatile dancer, accomplished in both classical ballet and modern dance. In 1979, she established the Rina Schenfeld Dance Theater and was recognized internationally as a choreographer and teacher.
“One of the most sumptuous modern dancer of her day,” wrote Clive Barnes in The New York Times about Rina Schenfeld. She works with a range of physical objects – threads, sticks, poles, rubber, strips, cubes and fabrics – in creating solo “tours de force” of startling dramatic impact. Rina Schenfeld meditative, often enigmatic solos draw upon an intensely personal expressiveness, nurtured during her years with the Graham-based Batsheva Company in Israel, which she helped found in 1963. Prior to Batsheva, she studied danced with Maya Arbatova in Israel, at New York’s Julliard School of Music, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School and Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. While in Batsheva, she achieved wide recognition as a radiant performer in works by Martha Graham, Robert Cohan, John Butler, Jerome Robbins, John Cranko and Glen Tetley.
Rina Schenfeld was highly acclaimed in Europe with performances at the Theatre de la Ville in Paris, the Helsinki festival in 1981 and 1982, and on tours in the Netherlands. Performances of her new works at the “Next Wave” Festival in the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1983 marked her New-York City debut.
Anna Kisselgoff wrote in The New York Times:
Miss Schenfeld transformations, hence, take on a philosophical meaning, raising questions about essences…She keeps the human figure always visible and she is, as ever, a serenely beautiful dancer of great intensity, the magnetic focus of attention. Each flutter or flicker of her fingers seems invested with meaning of some sort, never literal and all the more tantalizing because of its mystery.
Since 1979, Rina Schenfeld directs The Rina Schenfeld Dance Theatre and dance school. She hosts renowned guest artist such as Muna Tseng, Tero Saarinen, and, in 1997, brought a collaborative work with Margie Gillis called “Dream” to Israel. In 2001, she made “Close-Up” with video art designer Paolo Atzori. Between 2002 and 2006, Rina toured Japan, India, South Korea and China. Rina Schenfeld won more than 10 awards and, in 2003, received the "EMET PRIZE," which is considered to be the Israeli Nobel Price.
In May 2007, Rina Schenfeld performed in “Altrepasso” and ”Negro Amaro” festivals in Italy where she received two prizes for her contribution to the dance world. Rina Schenfeld continues to create, teach and perform extensively both in Israel and around the world.