To:     Michael S. Rassler

Executive Director

Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara


From:  Misa Kelly

           Artistic Director

          SB-ADaPT Festival

(a dance and physical theater festival)

Celebrating the Movement Arts!



Subject:  Israeli Artists: Maya Stren of Maya & Tomer; Maya Dunsky



  • Greetings
  • About SB-ADaPT
  • Community Support
  • About the Artists





Dear Michael,


I contacted your office via telephone to inquire who the appropriate contact would be to explore ways in which we can assist Israeli artists who will be coming to the SB-ADaPT Festival in June of 2011.  I was given your email contact information and was advised to also submit items in hard copy.  Application materials about the artists have arrived & I am passing along pertinent information about the artists below.  I will also send them via snail mail. 




Festival Website:

Non-profit sponsor:


2011 is the inaugural year for SonneBlauma’s bi-annual international Dance and Physical Theater Festival.  The Festival is slated to occur June 15th-June 19th.   Festival events will primarily be held at Center Stage Theater.  Given the nature of the applications we’ve received we are in consultation with other organizations to help accommodate the proposals we have received.  One of the longer works by an Israeli Butoh artist appears better suited to a gallery setting.  I will be speaking with the Contemporary Arts Forum today about accommodating this need.  One proposal contains a request to present a dance that will take place on the beach.  We are in consultation with local choreographer Robin Bisio (2010 Santa Barbara Dance Alliance Lifetime Achievement recipient) who is an expert in environmental dance and has produced many events that have occurred at local beaches.   


The Festival is comprised of a core community base with the following professional dance and theater companies in Santa Barbara - Boxtales, DOZ Aerial Dance Theater/Drama Dogs, Ballet Santa Barbara & SonneBlauma Danscz Theater.  Additionally we have put out a Call for Submissions to the international dance and theater community.  We have received applications from Israel, Istanbul, Slovenia, Russia, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, Wisconsin, Oregon, Philadelphia, Virginia, San Francisco, and Indiana.  Presently we are in the adjudication process.  Artists chosen to be a part of the Festival will be announced to the community on February 1st, 2011.


Although the Festival is adjudicated we conducted some internet research and extended invitations to  artists we discovered making powerful work that we thought would greatly enhance the cultural scene.    Two of the artists are from Israel: Butoh artist Maya Dunksy & Maya Stren of Maya & Tomer. 


In putting together the programming we are building two programs for Center Stage Theater.  One which contains the more abstract work that may have experimental components and one which is more accessible for families and children.  This program will be also serve as an outreach to under privileged communities. We have already spoken with Transition House and determined that the Sunday Matinee would be the best time out of all of the performance slots for a family oriented show.  Additionally we will be approaching other communities such as the developmentally disabled community (they love dance!) and the low income elder community about our making tickets available to them at no cost. 


Here is a link to a work submitted to the adjudication panel that I couldn’t resist sharing that is geared toward family.  It is one of the most hysterical dances I’ve ever seen and I can hardly wait to hear our community kids get a chuckle out of this one.




The SB-ADaPT Festival is designed like all other Festivals of this nature.  The hosting company takes on the task of organizing the Festival and covering all costs of producing the Festival and artists collaborate by creating the work and covering their own costs of travel and lodging.  We are building on this model by attempting to find lodging for the artists and facilitating their fundraising endeavors. 


Do you know of anyone in your community that would be willing to consider being of help in welcoming these artists into our community by opening their homes to lodge these artists?    



Maya Dunsky's fund raising endeavors within Israel led to a recommendation from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs that we approach the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles for support on her behalf.  Once they have considered the inquiry they will contact us with their response. 


The Art/culture representative there is Mr. Lior Sasson (phone: 323 -852-5521    email:  Is there anyone in your community that is familiar with the best protocol in approaching this organization about support for Israeli artists?  What we wondering if it would be best to have someone within the Jewish community approach the Consulate on the Festival’s behalf or if it would be appropriate to contact them directly.

Additionally, perhaps there may be individuals in your community who would like to contribute to the artists travel costs.  Funds would be channeled through our non-profit, The Future Traditions Foundation and all donations would be tax-deductible by the fullest extent allowed by the law.  




Following are excerpts from the Israeli artists SB-ADaPT applications that will give you a good overview of who they are as artists and what they have achieved.


I will also send these materials in a hard copy format next week. 







MAYA DUNSKY, a multidisciplinary artist, Butoh dancer, choreographer and painter paved her way in the Butoh world since 1985 as a student of the master Ohno Kazuo, the founder of Butoh. She lived, studied and created in Japan for 6 years.  Since the year of 1998 Maya gives master's classes, facilitates an on going Butoh dance workshops in Israel. She guides processes of creativity & specializes in transforming   from one's self therapy into awakening to the  path of the artist within. Maya creates and performs mainly as soloist. Part of her dance pieces are duets, ensemble works and video dance. She designs the sound tracks to   her dance works, as well as the minimalistic stage design, costumes, the art and the concept.

On the year of 2008 she established the "MENIFA" Butoh ensemble.


As a disciple of Ohno Kazuo, Maya brings forth the authentic spirit of the Butoh .She bases her dance works on improvisation and stays loyal to this concept. The processes and results are kind of "open form" – a basic structure with its flexible content which leaves space to a surprising emotional and physical occurrence. As a creator she is in a constant willingness to stay in an unsafe area, a place that keeps freshness and revival.


Describe some of your achievements over the course of the last five years:


2005                 Solo Butoh Dance – "Dream Passengers", Shaar- International Poetry Festival ,T.A

2005                 "Bow", Butoh Dance for 3 dancers ,Jerusalem

2006                 Duet Butoh , Café Tav , Jerusalem

2006                 "The Dress",An Ensamble work , Tel-Aviv

2007                 "Eye of the storm" ,Butoh Dance  Photography Exhibition, The University Art Gallery

                         Tel aviv University , Tel Aviv. Catalogue.

2007                 Butoh Dance in the Japanese Garden ,Carmiel

2007                 Butoh  dance " I lean upon the sea at the stern of my heart", Amir Orr Poetry Book launch

                         " Museum of Time ", Bialeik House , Tel Aviv

2007                 Solo Butoh Dance "Driada",Shaar International Poetry Festival,"chan" Theatre Jerusalem

2008                 VDance – International Video dance Festival ,"critical Mass", Cinematheuqe ,Tel Aviv

                         Credited with honour & appreciation

2008                 "Aquarium" , Duet, Karmiel. Dance Festival

2008                 Established "Menifa" ' Butoh dance ensamble .

2008                 " When the room become water", Maya Dunsky & Ensamble "Menifa" /Butoh Dance             

                         Performance with Video art , Inbal Theatre,Tel-Aviv,supported by Mifaal Hpais.

2009                                "Puminjai", solo , Tikotin ,Japanese Art  Museum , Haifa 

2010                                "A moon between my teeth" ,Solo, launching poetry book by Amir Or,

                         Beit Bialik museum , Tel-Aviv.

2010                  Solo Butoh dance, in  "Dreaming reality?" art exibition, Pyramida,

                          center for contemporary art, Haifa



In tandem to her way of life as a Butoh artist, Maya is a painter and her art works are exhibited in Israel & abroad.


She facilitates a unique painting workshops called

"Space- Colour -Consciousness", a method she developed.

Her art works are found in museums & privet collection in

Israel, New-York, Tokyo, Paris, Bazel and Berlin.




Completed Proposed Work #1

Choreographer:                                       Maya Dunsky

Number of performers:                            1

Title:                                                      Driada

Length:                                                   11:39 min.

YouTube Link

Brief Description of the Work: Inspired by a poem of Amir or a contemporary Israeli poet

A trees nymph stretches her shadowy arms.  Weaving dusk into darkness


Completed Proposed Work #2

Choreographer:                                     Maya Dunsky

Number of performers:                           1        

Title:                                                     "When the room becomes water"


YouTube Link ( ):


Brief Description of the Work:

Inspired by a poem of  a contemporary Israeli poet.  A figure emitted from the void into a dreamy reality. 



Work in Progress Submission

Choreographer:                                     Maya Dunsky

Number of performers:                            2

Title:                                                     Wordless,Skinless…

Length:                                                 17 min.

YouTube Link :

 Brief Description of the Work:

Inspired by a poem of Amir Or, a contemporary Israeli poet. A man & a woman passing in between transparent walls. They carry transparent envelopes which contain letters-

Their mutual path is a solid ground for breaking contracts.  Ties must change…




MAYA STREN: Maya & Tomer




Contact Information

Choreographer’s Name: Maya Stern and Tomer Sharabi

Company’s Name (if applicable):_



Preferred Telephone: _972-523-871704

Address: (Street, City, State, Zip Code) 23 Hes st. Tel Aviv 63324, Israel



Artist Statement/Philosophy/Mission Statement:

Our movement language is eclectic, inspired from the practice of Butoh – a contemporary vanguard Japanese contemporary dance discipline, from modern dance, and from normal day to day human movement. We are drawn to the extreme aspects of human interaction, pulled by the innermost desires that aspire to expose themselves to the light of day. Things we want to hide, that we don't want to look at, yet the more we do that the more these dark desires manage us.

We wish to not conform to conventional aesthetic forms, but to find an authentic language of communications. In our research we find that a lot of the time the most authentic movements are not at all aesthetic, symmetrical, or open to the space, but rather drawn out with intensive effort from inner spiral movement.


Short Artist/Company Bio

Born and based in Israel, Maya Stern and Tomer Sharabi have met in high-school, and have since been working together for almost two decades. Still in high-school, they won the 1st and 2nd prizes at the renowned “Gvanim” dance competition, 1991. In 1994 they won 1st prize at the British Consulate's dance competition, and in 1995 the 3rd prize at the Groningen competition, Holland.  They are winners of the Minister of “Culture, Science, and Sports” Prize for Young Choreographers 2006, and are supported by the ministry on a yearly basis. They are the receivers of the first “Giora Manor” bi-annual Grant for Dancers.   In 2007 they established the “Maya & Tomer Dance Ensemble”, which encouraged them to create individual work as well.

Their piece "Happiness" participated at the Israeli Week in the 2007 “Shanghai Dance Festival”, and at the “High Fest” Festival, Armenia.  In May 2008 they won the 1st prize of 7,500 EUR in the "No Ballet" competition, Ludwigzafen, Germany with their piece "Dinner".




Describe some of your achievements over the course of the last five years:


  • In May 2008 they won the 1st prize of EUR 7,500 at the "No Ballet" competition in Ludwigzafen-Germany with their work "Dinner".


  • Winners of the Minister of “Culture, Science, and Sports” Prize for Young Choreographers 2006.


·         Receivers of the first “Giora Manor” bi-annual Grant for Dancers.


·         Participated at the Israeli Week at the Shanghai Dance Festival 2007


·         Participated in the High Fest Festival 2007 in Armenia.


·         Maya & Tomer won the 1st and 2nd prizes at the renowned “Gvanim” dance competition, 1991.


·         In 1994 they won 1st prize at the British Consulate's dance competition – Tel Aviv, and in 1995 the 3rd prize at the Groningen competition, Holland.


What do you hope to gain from the experience of participating in this festival?

Share our work with new audiences (1st time in the U.S.), network with peer artists, share our experience with fresh artists and dancers, and nurture our creative processes by seeing others' work. And of course enjoy the beautiful Santa Barbara.




Completed Proposed Work #1

Choreographer: Maya Stern & Tomer Shar'abi

Number of performers: 2

Title: “Dinner”

Brief Description of the Work:

“Quite a hermetic structure of
a couple that goes to feed love, to look for tenderness, affinity, and unity, but find themselves as predators and preys, as if they drown in a stormy sea or cling to a rescue board”
Zvi Goren, Dance Critic for the on-line performance arts magazine "The Stage"



Completed Proposed Work #2 (Choreographer: Maya Stern

Number of performers: 1

Title: “Olympia”

Brief Description of the Work:

This solo piece investigates the sense of nobility and perfection that can be found in the art of dance, as well as in the art of dressage. It can be achieved only through rigorous training, discipline, total surrender, a strict way of life, and at times, through cruelty and abuse. This solo looks at the similarity between the two worlds.