18th Annual Chutzpah! Festival lineup announced

Michele Merola’s MM Contemporary Dance performs at this year’s Chutzpah! Festival. Enrico Morelli photo.

Tickets go on sale today (Dec. 13) for the 18th Annual Chutzpah! Festival. Organizers have also announced the lineup for the festival, aka the Lisa Nemetz International Jewish Performing Arts Festival. The arts festival takes place Feb. 15-March 15 2018 at various venues, including the Norman Rothstein Theatre, Scotiabank Dance Centre, Rickshaw Theatre, and Fox Cabaret.

One of the highlights of the annual event is its Dance Series. This year’s Chutzpah! features some of the most sought-after contemporary choreographers in the world, along with theatre, comedy and music. Here are some highlights.

Roy Assaf Dance—The Israeli company makes its Chutzpah! debut with Six Years Later and The Hill. It’s a program of intricate and nuanced works.

Ezralow Dance—Daniel Ezralow is known for the explosive physicality of his work. This marks the Canadian premiere of his dance company.

Ezralow Dance. Angelo Redaelli photo.

Michele Merola’s MM Contemporary Dance—The Italian company performs Rite of Spring and Bolero. It’s a Chutzpah! first and North American premiere.

Salomé: Woman of Valor—This appearance marks the world premiere of the multi-disciplinary show created by Frank London and Adeena Karasick. London is the composer and bandleader of Grammy-winning The Klezmatics. Karasick is a Canadian poet and performance artist. Their new work blends live music, text, video and dance.

Idan Raichel—The Israeli singer/songwriter and musician is a festival favourite. He performs his solo piano show.

Troker—The Mexican band blurs jazz, rock, mariachi, metal, funk and hip hop. NPR describes Troker as “heavy jazz.”

Perla Batalla—A long-time singer and touring band member with the legendary Leonard Cohen, Batalla brings In The House of Cohen, her tribute to the music of her friend and mentor, to Chutzpah! this year.

We Keep Coming Back—Michael Rubenfeld’s work deconstructs Polish, Jewish narratives. Incorporating video and archival materials, We Keep Coming Back features Rubenfeld performing opposite his real-life mom, Mary Berchard.

Other performers/shows include local spoken-word artist/musician Barbara Adler, making her festival debut in a double-bill with musician/poet Jake Klar (USA); Toronto’s Beyond the Pale, a Eurofolk fusion acoustic ensemble; Canadian humourist/podcaster Jonathan Goldstein; Canadian comedian Mary Walsh; and New Zealand storyteller/songwriter Deb Filler.

Single tickets for Chutzpah! are $24 to $55 (+ gst/sc) and are on sale now. For tickets visit chutzpahfestival.com or call 604-257-5145. “Chutzi Packs”, which allow holders to see four different shows, are also available for $98. Back this year is the five-Show Dance Pack for $120.

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