Emet Prize Laureates

Yair Vardi

2009 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Culture and Art
In Field: Dance


Yair Vardi

Jury Statement

“Yair Vardi is awarded the EMET Prize for initiating and directing a wide range of dance events, for establishing a home for Israeli dance and opening it up to a wealth of styles and contents, for encouraging dance artists in Israel, for creating professional frameworks for dance projects in Israel and for turning Israeli dance into a cultural ambassador for the State of Israel.”


Yair Vardi was born in Kibbutz Kfar Blum in 1948, he was a principal dancer for both the Bat-Sheva and Bat-Dor Dance Companies before joining the Rambert Company in London. In 1983 he was appointed general and artistic director of the English Dance Theatre Company in Newcastle.

In 1988 Yair returned to Israel where he was appointed founding director of the yet to be built Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre in Neve Tzedek.Yair’s vision helped shape the development of the Centre, which is widely credited as the main force behind the renaissance in Israeli dance. Under Yair’s direction the centre has provided Israeli dance artists studios to train and develop their work and a world-class stage on which to perform. It has initiated local and international workshops, master classes and links between creators and dancers.

Among the important dance events organized by him are the International Dance Competition (1992, 1994 and 1996), the Maya Arbatova Competition (13 times since 1990), Only Men Dancing (promoting male choreographers and dancers) and the two projects: Hot Dance intended to expose creations to the wider audience and Different Dance, creating a fringe within the realm of dance.

As a choreographer in his own right, Yair has created several dance pieces as well as choreographic work for the theatre and television. He’s the recipient of the Kinor David Prize for his first creation, "Asher elav nichsafti" ("That Which I Longed For") and the Tel-Aviv Municipality's Rosenblum Prize for his contribution to dance in the city. He was awarded the Prize for Excellence from the Israel Foreign Ministry as well as a knighthood from the government of France for his contribution to the arts.

Yair also serves as artistic advisor to the Karmiel Dance Festival, the Israeli Opera House’s dance series and is the Dean of the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance’s Dance Academy.