A Cultural Showcase

by BTM

Mon, 03 July 2023

During a visit to the Kingdom to showcase their talents, Arab-Israeli chef Elias Mattar and dance choreographer Shlomi Elimelech sat down with Kristian Harrison to discuss their excitement at the opportunity to perform in Bahrain.

Elias is the owner of Marta Deli, located in the northern Israeli port of Haifa, one of the most active delis in a city bustling with activities. It regularly has a vibrant atmosphere filled with music and excitement and every Friday it comes alive with live music, creating an ambience of joy.

He is renowned as one of the most famous chefs in Israel and was asked to come to Bahrain to represent Israeli cuisine, showcasing diverse flavours from different regions of the country. Whether it's the northern, western or eastern side, each has its own famous dishes and spices, all of which Chef Elias represents with his unique touch.
He explained: “It is my second time in Bahrain and I am very glad of the opportunity to represent my country here. It’s an honour to showcase some of my favourite fusions from Israel and a selection of cold cut meats, sliced cheeses, sandwiches, breads, salads and more.

“I’ve brought some of my favourite spices from Israel from a number of regions and I really hope that the people of Bahrain enjoy my creations. Bahrain has a wonderful culinary tradition and I’m proud to contribute to it.”

Shlomi is the director and choreographer of the dance group Tzuza, which was founded in 2006. Tzuza is a prominent name in the Israeli dance world, with more than 1,000 dancers of different ages on its books. 

The group performed a special show featuring 12 dancers with a stylistic video-art presentation, showcasing the history of the nation. The performance wowed onlookers in Bahrain with its stunning elements of dance, acrobatics and performing arts.

The group participates in various productions carried out in collaboration with numerous social organisations and has now ticked Bahrain off in the list of countries it has brought joy to. Tzuza has performed at festivals and celebration in countries including the United States, South Korea, Mexico, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, Brazil and many others over recent years.

Shlomi was thrilled to bring the group’s amazing talent to the Kingdom. He says excitedly: “It’s an exciting experience to come to Bahrain with its history and the history of the region. The culture is unique and so we really had to do something special and pull out all the stops compared to performing somewhere like London.

“The show is fully curated for where we are performing; every show is different. For example, here we used elements of Bahraini music, outfits and history. Israeli culture is actually very similar, especially when it comes to music, so I took local elements such as drums and the oud and crafted something which has foundations in both countries.

“Our dancers are amazing and they have had a special buzz about performing in Bahrain for a long time. They’ve been working so diligently for months to be ready for the opportunity to perform in a country which very few of their peers have had the chance to visit is very special for them.

“In art, it doesn’t matter where the show is coming from, but rather if people like it or not. The purpose of the show was to bring people together and regardless of where they are from and appreciate the wonderful spirit of dance,” he concludes.