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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Where Dancers’ Sparks Leave Their Marks!

Twenty-two women line up post-performance in a large, spot-lit, open space. They may have been playing soccer!


But the well-toned athletes taking their bows are dancers who have been displaying their skills at the climax of their ‘Dance Journey to Israel’ programme hosted by the internationally respected Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company at Kibbutz Ga’aton in Israel’s Galilee.

A tough training regimen reaps great rewards and a series of ultra-short, self-choreographed sketches allows those involved both to perform and to create, leaving us, the audience, to suppose this is how the show titled Nitzotzot* (sparks) derives its name. KCDC

The event – a little under 90 minutes long – is strangely reminiscent of my own work as a writer of micro fiction. The dancers,  like me and others who use the genre, would swiftly understand that the shorter the work the greater chance there is to innovate. But the joy of creation is accompanied by a bigger risk of being misconstrued.

So while writers like me may create entire worlds in  many ways, in any length from a couple of sentences to a thousand words,  the ‘Dance Journey’ students must watch their steps even as they rewrite and hone the rules of dance to suit themselves. All of us must be brave! 

The dancers try merging classical and pop music. They even opt for silence. Someone displays a film clip as a back-drop; another has her colleagues shout something I don’t understand while a third creates a feisty drama with two white plastic chairs.

The costume changes are few. The lighting is stark but the applause after each set grows louder, firmer. I feel invigorated; begin to think of writing a story about them. Surely they have a winner.

Everyone would be thrilled if any of these fine young dancers were to go on to work for other Israeli  companies. But I’m not sure they would be comfortable, for example, at the Israel Ballet, presently best known for its classical and neo-classical repertoire.

The clip below shows a section from Moon Over Jupiter, one of three works under the umbrella title Moon performed by the company during a recent nationwide tour of Israel and which included a stop at Karmiel. 

Performed by a troupe still scarred perhaps by last year’s sacking of founding artistic director,Berta Yampolsky, the show was polished, charming, but frankly dull.


* Author’s note: Some say there is no such Hebrew word as ‘nitzotzot’ and that the nearest correct word is ‘nitzotzim’ (sparks). Further, Kabbalistic-Chassidic terminology refers to the sparks of holiness or Godliness inherent in all of creation.


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