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Mona Goldstein Atkinson is an American Israeli dance choreographer, teacher, and leader.
Early years: Mona started Israeli dancing at the age of 3 when her mother brought her to classes run by Shirley Waxman and Rocky Korr at the Greater Washington JCC. She continued dancing with her mother and her sister into her teen years when she learned from the markidim (Israeli dance instructors) in the Washington metropolitan area including Rocky Korr, Moshe Shem Tov, Helen Avner, Ken Avner, Mike Fox, Pepe Strauss, Rena Strauss, Moshany Shemesh, and many more. In high school, Mona danced with the Yesodot performance dance troupe.
University: While studying at the University of Texas, Mona lead her first Israeli dance sessions, one at the UT Union and one at the Austin JCAA. In 2002 Mona choreographed her first Israeli line dance, "Ohevet Ozevet."
Choreographer and Teacher: Mona went to Israel for a year after graduating from college and studied the Israeli dance business as well as the dances themselves. She learned from famed markidim and choreographers such as Gadi Biton, Yaron Ben Simchon, Yoram Sasson, Boaz Cohen, Avner Naim, Eyal Eliyahu, Dudu Barzilai, and Kobi Michaeli. When Mona returned to Maryland she founded RikudDC with Roee Ruttenberg and took over the Monday night session from Moshany Shemesh. She also led a Tuesday night session geared toward beginner dancers which she later passed on leadership to Mike Fox. In July 2007, Mona founded Mona Israeli Dance, an entertainment company specializing in providing both DJing and Israeli dance.
In 2011, Mona retired from being a weeklyl session markid; Noah Glushakow-Smith took over leadership of the RikudDC session and Ken Avner took over leadership of the Monday night session. Mike Fox took over the Tuesday night session at Ohr Kodesh Congregation. Mona still travels to Israeli dance sessions and weekend workshops nationally and internationally to continually develop her Israeli dance and DJ skills.
Israeli Dance Festival DC: Mona was a member of the organizing Committee when the Washington area's Israeli Dance Festival DC was reborn in 2010. She remained active with the Festival and became the Committee chairperson in 2013 under the mentorship of Daniela Tam. Mona retired from the festival committee in 2014.
Gvanim: Since 2011, Mona has been part of the Gvanim Israeli Dance team. She DJs their evening dance sessions.
Ohevet Ozevet Productions: Ohevet Ozevet Productions (OOP) is a Maryland-based entertainment company that aims to serve the DMV Israeli dance community by providing various non-weekly Israeli dance events. OOP was created in December 2021. OOP’s board includes Mona Atkinson, Ari Atkinson, Noah Glushakow-Smith, Katie Hamelburg and Joshua Rosenthal. All of them are from Maryland and have all dedicated significant time and effort contributing to the DMV Israeli dance community. OOP’s first event was called the “Winter Israeli Dance Party,” took place on Saturday evening, December 4, 2021 from 8pm-1am. OOP second event was Machol Maryland, a dance camp geared for the Maryland Israeli dance community. "Machol Maryland 2023" was a dance retreat in Rockville, Maryland, USA from January 19-22, 2023. The event sold out before early bird pricing ended.
The OOP website: www.OhevetOzevetProductions.com The Machol Maryland website: www.MacholMaryland.com
Mona's choreographies include:
Lines: Ohevet Ozevet, 2002; Tityaches Alai, 2004; Tzar Me'od, 2007; Atem Rokdim, 2009; Mala Mala, 2016; with Chen Shporen Matchil Hakayitz, 2017; with Chen Shporen
Partners: Harumba, 2006; Jumbo Jet, 2006;
Circles: Malachim, 2004; Hakinor, 2008; Harachaman, 2008;