There are few Israeli TV shows I’ve been waiting to come to U.S. audiences more than “Fire Dance.” The drama, which originally aired in Israel back in 2022, was created by accomplished Israeli director Rama Burstein-Shai and stars some of Israel’s most iconic TV stars, including Noa Koler and the very handsome Yehuda Levi, as well as talented newcomer Mia Ivryn.
Now, U.S. audiences will finally be able to watch this magnetic, mysterious show, which will be streaming this March on ChaiFlicks, a Jewish streaming platform.
“Fire Dance” is set in an insular Haredi community in Tiberias, and has a bit of a mystical feel, flanked by the waves of the sea of Galilee and foggy hillsides.
Ivrin plays Feigie, a troubled teen who has a strained, impossible relationship with her difficult mother, Reizi, played by Koler (“Checkout,” “Rehearsals,” and Burstein-Shai’s 2016 film “The Wedding Dance”). She develops a relationship with Rabbi Natan, played by Levi, the eldest son of her community’s recently departed religious leader, who, along with his wife, helps save her from a suicide attempt.
The show is a coming-of-age story, both for Feigie, who slowly finds her voice, her grace and her grounding, and for Natan, who is labeled a “woman’s rabbi” and faces the consternation of his community, many of whom believe that a woman’s rabbi should just not be a thing. And yet, Natan has what he considers a special gift, a kind of insight into the psyches of the women and people he works with, and feels compelled to help, despite the backlash.
Natan’s younger brother, Shrulik, played by Ido Bartal, is vying for the position of the community’s religious leader and is deeply disdainful towards his older brother. Their sister and Feigie’s teacher, Libby, keeps her face hidden at all times.
Burstein-Shai’s series offers less of an inside look into the workings of Haredi life and more a kind of fantastical look into these characters who are so well-acted and well-drawn, who speak in a kind of poetic, riddle-ridden, otherworldly way, and who dance these dangerous routines, stretching the tight confines of their community. They’re all impossible to look away from.
“Fire Dance” is Burstein-Shai’s first TV show, and has won three Israeli TV academy awards, including for best direction and for Koler’s role as best supporting actress. All eight episodes of the show will be premiering on ChaiFlicks starting in March, and I can’t wait to be sucked into its world once more.