Israel Ballet Founder Fired by Auditor After 45 Years as Artistic Director

"I would have resigned with no problem but I didn’t imagine to myself that it would be this way,” Yampolsky says.

Berta Yampolsky, who founded the Israel Ballet in 1967 and has been its artistic director ever since, told Haaretz she was fired recently by the company’s supervising accountant.

“I know I’m not young anymore. ... I would have resigned with no problem but I didn’t imagine to myself that it would be this way, with the supervising accountant telling me I’m fired,” Yampolsky said. The company’s director general, Lea Lavie, could not be reached for comment.

Talia Paz, one of the candidates to succeed Yampolsky as artistic director, told Haaretz, “I welcome the change itself. It’s inconceivable that there be a single director of a public institution for 45 years.”

Another candidate for the job said the contract will apparently be for two years only, to keep the position fresh.

The company’s board had set March 1 as the date to name the new artistic director, but board chairman Dan Ronen said the selection will be delayed by a week or two. “We are treating with the utmost seriousness the selection of a new artistic director and seeing to the development of classical ballet and suiting it to changes in the world,” Ronen said.

Sources close to the matter say the shortlist includes Itzik Galili, formerly the director of Galili Dance and the Company of Amsterdam for Contemporary Dance. It also includes Mate Moray, a former Israel Ballet dancer and former director of The Project, the Israel Opera’s repertory company. and the choreographer and dancer Ido Tadmor. Other candidates include Paz, former soloist with the Swedish Cullberg Ballet; Elie Lazar, former artistic director of the Joffrey Ensemble, and Maria Sachs, who directed the Caracas Ballet.

Emanuel Ogdan