"Do I dare disturb the universe?"
~T.S. Eliot

Monday, February 7, 2011

Upon arrival on the Dance Village...

I have arrived in Israel for my program with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, here on Kibbutz Ga'aton in northern Israel!  It's only been a few days, but I can already tell it's going to be an incredible, multi-cultural, physically intense, mentally challenging, totally unique, and illuminating experience.  The main attraction of the Kibbutz is the "Dance Village," and is a beautiful mix of international cultures and languages, green fresh nature, and moving bodies and spirits.

I knew that we would be from all over the world, but until I arrived here, I didn't realize what a truly diverse group we would be, or from what drastically different backgrounds we would come from.  We are from...Australia, England, France, Portugal, Hungary, Russia, Lithuania, Norway, Denmark Belgium, the Netherlands, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and the United States.  It's amazing hearing all of these different languages and accents, and people speaking in their third or fourth languages in order to communicate.  I feel like my English, decent-but-not-fluent-Spanish, and extremely limited Hebrew are inadequate compared to some of the Europeans who are so versed in multiple languages (though I had a neat moment in the train station in Tel Aviv...The girl at the coffee shop didn't speak English, so I tried Hebrew and didn't do so well, but ordered my latte in Spanish to a man who translated it to Hebrew :-) ).

The dance studios are beautiful.  The main big studio ("Big Raya") has full glass windows that overlook the northern Israeli countryside.  There is so much green surrounding me, I feel supported by natural beauty and the elements.  We have only had two days so far and the first day was introductory.  But thus far, the ballet classes have been challenging, motivating, and truly fun.  Sometimes I forget that ballet is such a beautiful art, and I get caught in the struggle and effort.  In these classes I've found the two (work and pleasure) can coexist.  The first piece of Rep we started learning (from "Naked City") is incredibly physical and demanding.  It's fun but it's also proving hard for me to get through.  I feel like I'm eating and drinking enough, but I need to change it up to figure out what the right things are...maybe more protein...to get me through the day.  I'm already feeling sore tonight!  It will be a long week...We also learned a second piece of Rep that was about two minutes of all gestures.  This was difficult for me to follow along, and I have a really hard time memorizing these patterns.  By the end, we added music for one run-through, which really helped me ("Send in the Clowns").  Music really informs my movement and stimulates my brain in the way that I work.  I know I will work better when we rehearse again with the music.  Finally, we had improv class, which was incredibly fun.  Partially simple scores, a bit of contact, and a long open jam at the end.  I was reminded of the amazing contact classes we had with Kirstie Simson at school, and here I felt alive and energized.

Backing it up a bit...Before I arrived at the kibbutz, I spend a few days in Tel Aviv.  I was able to take Gaga class at the Susanne Dellal Center, the home of Batsheva as well as other Israeli dance companies.  I went to class with my friend Eldar, who I met in Gaga class 2 1/2 years ago, so it seems like coming full circle.  I'm so grateful to have started my dance journey by taking this class.  I took Gaga in New York once, but for some reason, taking it here in Tel Aviv, where the whole movement began, seemed so much more of an authentic experience for me.  I love the physical and emotional release it provides by allowing us to really feel pure movement with nothing else affecting or layered on top of it.

Tel Aviv is such a fantastic city as a whole.  The cafes and restaurants are all so delicious ("taim maod"...I am learning), and all the food is so fresh and fantastic.

Well, enough writing for now, time to rest my tired body and mind.  Check back soon for more writings from the Dance Village in the Galilee...

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rebecca,

    I am the Community Manager for Masa Israel, and part of my job is to connect with current Israel program participants who are already blogging and work with them to share their experience with others who are thinking about going to Israel, as well as communities back in North America.

    Your blog looks great, and I wanted to see whether you would be interested in having this post published on the Masa Israel blog (http://www.themasaisraelblog.org), and/or contributing any articles about your experiences throughout the semester. We're looking for people to write individual stories about whatever you want, more regular stories about your experiences during your time in Israel, or to cover special events in Israel like concerts, festivals, holidays, and Masa Israel activities. We've never had a regular blogger from Dance Journey, and it is such a wonderful program that it would be great to be able to publish more stories about what the program is like!

    If you are interested, please get in touch with me at mirandab@masaisrael.org.

    Looking forward to hearing from you, and enjoy your time in Israel!

    Miranda Bogen
    Community Manager
    Masa Israel Journey