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Berta Yampolsky

YAMPOLSKY, BERTA (1934– ), choreographer and artistic director of the Israel Ballet. Born in Paris to Russian parents, Yampolsky immigrated at a young age with her family to Israel. She studied with Valentina Archipova Grossman and Mia *Arbatova and continued her studies at London's Royal Ballet. She and her husband, Hillel Markman, were leading soloists in many dance companies all over the world and returned to Israel in 1964. In 1967, the husband-and-wife team established the Israel Ballet. As its choreographer, she produced dramatic ballets, abstract and contemporary in the neoclassical style. In 1977, in Santiago, Chile, she was awarded the prize for the best foreign choreographer for her work entitled Dvořák Variations. She created most of the dances for the company, including The House of Bernarda Alba (1978), Carmen (1980), Untitled (1981), Mendelssohn Concerto (1982), Opus 1 (1983), The Nutcracker (1985), Two by Two (1989), Harmonium (1989), a full-length version of Romeo and Juliet (1989), Valse Mephisto (1992), Gurre Lieder (1996), Ecstasy (1998), and Medea (1999). The repertoire of the company includes a number of works by George Balanchine, as well as works by Roberto Lazzini, Heinz Spoerli, Roberto Trinchero, and the renowned work of John *Cranko, Onegin.

In 1998, she received the Minister of Education and Culture Lifework in Dance Award. In 2004 the company numbered 35 dancers, most of them Israeli-born, some immigrants from the former U.S.S.R. and the rest from Western countries. The troupe performed in Israel and at major dance festivals abroad.


R. Eshel, in: Israel Dance Quarterly, 7 (December 1995), 12–20; idem, in: Dance TodayThe Dance Magazine of Israel, 2 (July 2000), 85–93.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.