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 Künslerhaus 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.
Since 2015, she has been collaborating with vocal artist Michal Oppenheim, developing a practice which investigates the relationship between the materiality of the voice and that of the movement. They have been creating stage and site-specific work, presented in various contexts. In the season of 2016-2017, May was artist in residence at the Fest'Factory Artists Compound in Bat Yam, where she researched and initiated the project WALK in public space together with artist Galit Criden.
Next to her own artistic work, May regularly assists fellow artists as a dramarturg, such as: Fabrice Mazliah, Hermann Heisig, Shira Eviatar, Elpida Orfanidou, Adi Boutrous and more.
In 2017-18, May co-directed artistically with Anat Danieli the festival “March Hare” in Kelim Choreographic Center Bat Yam. Since 2017, she has been curating her video screenings series “Cinemay”, which include a live skype conversation with the invited artist.
She teaches both theory and practice in: The Visual Theater School in Jerusalem, Jerusalem Academy of Music & Dance, K3 Hamburg, Kelim choreography center Bat Yam and more.