History of the Faculty of Dance

History of the Faculty of Dance

School Directors, Faculty Deans, Department Heads:

Prof. Hassia Levy-Agron Founder and Director of the Conservatory 1951-1960
  Founder and Head of the School of Dance 1960-1987
Dr. Ziona Peled Pedagogical Coordinator 1986-1987
Prof. Amos Hetz Chairman of the Movement Department 1982-1985
Prof. Rena Gluck Chairwoman of the Dance Department 1982-1985
  Chairwoman of the Dance Department  and Head of the School of Dance 1987-1991
Dean of the Faculty of Dance and  Head of the School of Dance 1991-1997
Batia Cohen Assistant  to the Dean 1989-1991
  Acting Chairwoman of the Dance Department 1991-1992
Batia Cohen Chairwoman of the Dance Department 1992-1997
  Dean of the Faculty of Dance 1997-2004
Amir Kolben Chairman of the Dance Department 1997-2000
Paul Bloom Chairman of the Dance Department 2000-2005
Einya Cohen Chairwoman of the Movement Department 2001-2006
Melanie Berson  
 Chairwoman of the Dance Department
Nira Trifon  
Chairwoman of the Dance Department
2010 -
Anat Shamgar Chairwoman of the Movement Department 2010 -
Yair Vardi Head of the School of Dance 2004 - 2012

Gertrud Kraus − Vienna, 1901 − Tel Aviv, 1977

“In a transport of emotion, she flings her tormented, fervid spirit onto the stage in the form of dance. Full of fiery ambition, she opens wide the door to her talents; her artistry batters, injures; the suffering soul embodied − distant yet so familiar.  Clear and decisive is the power of her art …”
Gertrud Kraus began her studies at the State Academy in Vienna in 1922, in the Department of Modern Dance. 
She became famous throughout Europe for her solo performances and, later, for the work of her dance company, in particular for the Ghetto Songs cycle of 1935.
At the height of her artistic career she immigrated to Palestine.  By then she had had the opportunity to work with Rudolf von Laban, and had choreographed works for Vienna stage productions.
Despite the many difficulties that she faced in Palestine, she opened a studio of her own, and founded a new dance company.
During the early 1940s she collaborated with the Palestine Orchestra on Dance and Music-Playing (Mahol veNegina).  In 1941 the Tel Aviv Folk Opera was founded, and Kraus’ ensemble became its permanent dance company.
Gertrud Kraus imparted to her students an artistic vision that was ahead of its time.  She was involved not only in dance but also in painting and other forms of art; her opinions on painting, sculpture, musical composition and performance are said to have been highly valued by other artists.
Kraus choreographed her works in cooperation with the dancers of her company, using an improvisational approach.


In 1946 she returned to solo performance; the best-known of her solo works is Shulamit. After a period in the US, she returned to Israel and founded the Israel Ballet Theater in 1950, heralding the transition to a new, modern-American style of dance.
In 1962 she was appointed Professor of Dance at the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem; in 1968 she was awarded the Israel Prize.  Up until her passing she taught at the Academy, painted, and advised Israeli dancers and choreographers, particularly those of the younger generation.
Gertrud Kraus bequeathed her entire estate to the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, for the purpose of developing the Academy’s School of Dance.  The Gertrud Kraus and Gertel Miller (nee Kraus) Foundation was established by Prof. Hassia Levy-Agron, who serves as its director.  Prof. Levy-Agron also created the competition whose annual prizes are awarded by the Foundation.
Dancing With the Dream: The Development of Artistic Dance in Israel, 1920–1964(Ruth Eshel, 1991).
Mahol BeYisrael(IsraelDance Quarterly)

Prof. Hassia Levy-Agron
Dancer, choreographer and teacher, founder of the Faculty of Dance at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.
Studied dance and movement with Shoshana Orenstein, Elsa Dublon and Gertrud Kraus.  She continued her studies in New York with Martha Graham and Hanya Holm, Pearl Primus, Louis Horst and others.
She studied and taught at the University of Manila in the Philippines, and founded the first school of dance in Jerusalem at the Jerusalem Conservatory of Music.
She established the Faculty of Dance at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem and received academic recognition for her achievements, eventually earning the title of full professor.  She also headed the Dance Department in the Israel Public Council for Arts and Culture.
She served on the Inbal Dance Theater’s Board of Directors, on education and arts committees in the Ministry of Education, and was active in the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and in the Yehoshua Rabinowitz Foundation for the Arts, Tel Aviv.  She was awarded the Ministry of Education and Culture’s Yekirat HaMahol award for life achievement in dance, the Yekirat Yerushalayim (“Distinguished Citizen of Jerusalem”) award, the International Award for Young People, and, in the State of Israel’s jubilee year, the Israel Prize.
Hassia was married to Dani Agron (a member of the Haganah, founder of Israel Aircraft Industries, and noted woodcarver), mother to attorney Amos Agron, and grandmother to three.
By the 1940s Hasia was already giving solo performances in the framework of cultural evenings and recitals.  When Israel’s War of Independence broke out she cut short her studies in order to return to her homeland and perform for IDF troops.  She was also sent by the Joint Distribution Committee to perform at displaced persons camps in Europe.

From the 1950s on, Hassia devoted all of her energies to enhancing the status of artistic dance in Israel; she was instrumental in the incorporation of dance into Israeli general and academic education.  In connection with these efforts, she founded the Department of Dance at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem, and headed the department for many years.
Alongside the organizational efforts that formed a major portion of her life’s work, she was continually involved in developing curricula and new, up-to-date courses.  In this way she successfully ensured the independent status of dance within the general education system.

Hassia’s outstanding achievement, the fruit of many years’ labor, was the Council for Higher Education in Israel’s conferral of academic status on the Department of Dance that she had founded in the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance.  This accreditation turned the Department of Dance into the first Israeli academic institution to award degrees in dance and to produce academically-trained teachers of dance for all educational frameworks.
Over the years Hassia founded numerous dance frameworks which provided a training-ground for students and young artists.

Her devoted efforts in the service of dance, as well as her unique personality and varied activities on behalf of artistic organizations and directorates, constituted a major and formative contribution to the field of artistic dance in Israel

Professor Rena Gluck - Dancer, Choreographer, Teacher, Director
Rena Gluck, a graduate of the Juilliard School and a student of Martha Graham, immigrated to Israel in 1954, created her own dance studio and company, and jointly formed Stage for Dancers, the first initiative at creating a joint company of choreographers and dancers.
From 1964-1980 she was a founding soloist, choreographer, teacher, and in the later years, director with the Batsheva Dance Company. Throughout these years Rena was at the forefront of the Company's dancers leading it to its acclaimed international success among audiences, critics and renowned choreographers.
Since 1958, and later in conjunction with Batsheva, Rena Gluck was a guest teacher of Graham Technique at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance upon Hassia Levy-Agron's special invitation. After retiring from Batsheva, Ms. Gluck was appointed a member of the Dance Department faculty, serving as the first chairwoman of the department and Head of the School of Dance. In this capacity she was a member of the committee headed by Marc Kopytman (then Dean), which recommended the creation of the Faculty of Dance. In 1991 Ms. Gluck was appointed the first Dean of the newly created Faculty of Dance, serving two cadenzas as Dean in addition to the three previous cadenzas as Chairwoman.
Ms. Gluck was appointed professor of dance in 1995. She was the modern teacher for the Inbal Dance Theater off and on from 1957 until 1985, and served as artistic adviser to Sara Levi-Tannai from 1980-1982. Prof Gluck taught at the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts for over a decade.

Globally, Prof Gluck was a guest teacher, adviser, and choreographer for academic dance institutions around the world (US, China, Holland, Latvia).  Prof. Gluck has filled various important roles on public committees of dance institutions as well as heading committees awarding scholarships and prizes. Her book, Batsheva Dance Company, 1964-1980, My Story, was published in Hebrew (Carmel Press) in 2006, and the English edition of her book was printed in 2008.
In 2008, Prof Gluck initiated an Oral History Project, which documents on camera the narratives of Israel’s leading dance artists from the early 1950’s. In 2003, Prof Gluck’s name was inscribed in the Golden Book of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance by the Head of the Academy, Prof Avner Biron. Citing that  Prof Gluck “contributed greatly to the development and enrichment of the Faculty of Dance, to the students and the teachers, with her devotion, talent, and abilities.
In 2007 Professor Rena Gluck was awarded The Lifetime Achievements Award in the Field of Dance by The Israel Ministry of Culture and Sport.