As a choreographer and dancer, May Zarhy’s work is located in between places: between Germany and Israel, between choreography and other artistic disciplines. She creates zones in which the spectator is asked to negotiate and suspend his*her interpretation of what they witness: a dance performance or a music concert? An educational event or a performative one? May is specifically fascinated with the relationship between the media of dance and music. Questioning what the act of listening could be and look like is the core motivation for her artistic practice, and is manifested in her way of creating, collaborating, curating and teaching. She treats the body as the departure point for experimentation, and movement as the motor for imagination while acknowledging the specificity of her own body and identity: a female, woman, Israeli European, cross-cultural, secular, western, an artist, human (among other things...). Her practice is a constant re-positioning and negotiation with the context in which she operates, creates and lives in. She perceives her work as a spectrum where one form transforms into another, one that functions as a bridge between colliding views, rather than definite territorial separations.
Born in 1984, May created her first piece for the National Choreography Biennale Shades in Dance 2001 Tel Aviv, before moving to the Netherlands in 2002 to study dance at the Rotterdam Dance Academy. In 2005, she assisted William Forsythe in his creation 3 Atmospheric Studies. In 2007 May was a member in ex.e.r.ce in Montpellier France, directed by Mathilde Monnier and Xavier Le Roy. In 2009, she formed together with Fabrice Mazliah and Ioannis Mandafounis the collaborative trio mamaza, with whom she created and performed all around the world. Together with mamaza, May was associated artist at deSingel Antwerp in 2011-2012, and resident artist at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt in 2012-2014 (Doppelpass Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation). In 2012, she was selected to be a Modul-Dance European project artist.
Together with vocal artist Michal Oppenheim, she created the works YES (2015, Diver festival, Tel Aviv Museum of Art) and the VOICES (2017, Diver Festival, Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis), through a practice which investigates the relationship between the materiality of the voice and that of the movement. In the season of 2016-2017, May was artist in residence at the Fest’Factory Artists Compound in Bat Yam, where she created together with performance artist Galit Criden the performance WALK for the public space. In 2018 she was invited to create a site specific work for Levinski neighborhood in Tel Aviv, and together with musician Elad Bardes they created the sound tour Kol Yom.
In 2017-18, May co-directed artistically with Anat Danieli the dance festival ‘March Hare’ in Kelim Choreographic Center Bat Yam. Since 2017, she has been curating her video screenings series ‘Cinemay’, which includes a live skype conversation with the invited artists. The series is hosted by the Center of Contemporary Art Tel Aviv.
Next to her own artistic work, May assists fellow artists as a dramarturg, such as: Fabrice Mazliah, Hermann Heisig, Shira Eviatar, Elpida Orfanidou, Adi Boutrous and more.
She teaches theory and practice at: The Visual Theater School in Jerusalem, Jerusalem Academy of Music & Dance, K3 Hamburg, and more.