‘Martha Graham said ‘The center of the stage is where I am,’” says choreographer Tamir Ginz. “That sentence means a lot to me. I think that the stigma attached to being on the periphery is wrong.”
As the founder and artistic director of the Beersheba-based Kamea Dance Company, the notion of decentralization is a daily point of contention, contemplation and inspiration. His new work, Bamidbar Dvarim, which will premiere next week, is inspired by Ginz’s personal journey away from the center of the country and into the eye of his own creativity.
For more than a decade, while Ginz’s troupe put down roots in the capital of the Negev, he held onto a base in Tel Aviv. Though a family matter made his presence in the city necessary, Ginz now realizes that the geographic divide between home and work affected his artistic process.
“What identifies the Kamea style is that I bring my personal experiences into the work,” he explains. Ginz speaks perfect English with a twinge of a British accent.
Bamidbar Dvarim takes its name from the Hebrew for Numbers and Deuteronomy. In these books of the Bible, the desert is a harsh terrain traveled through on the way to the Promised Land. For Ginz, the truth has been quite the opposite. Beersheba has given his company fertile soil to thrive upon, including the support of an enthusiastic mayor and a budding artistic community.
“The company is very involved in the development of the cultural scene in Beersheba,” he says.
“Thanks to the leaders of the city, art is a focal point in town. We have a beautiful new performing arts center that draws internationally acclaimed performances. Being here has given us the ground to create without considering our colleagues in the North. We have the freedom to develop a unique voice without having to follow a stream that is led by other companies or a certain fashion. We can be that special and unique voice that is very interesting and refreshing for the audience.”
Last year, after months of ruminating, Ginz officially joined his dancers in Beersheba.
“Moving here has changed my life,” says Ginz.
It just so happened that in the months following his move, he began working on Kamea’s annual original production. In his previous works, Ginz had focused on interpersonal relationships, often within families. As the rehearsals got under way, he found that he was more interested in letting the outside in rather than the opposite.
“The actual landscape inspired me,” he says. “I felt that I wanted to give some space to the inner drama, to create a spiritual and physical landscape. The piece has the characteristic of being free, wild, not bending to conventions.
During our process I asked myself many questions like What is a tribe? What is a ritual? What is a religious motion?’” Not long after beginning movement research, Ginz turned to musician Avi Baleli to collaborate on the score of Bamidbar Dvarim.
Baleli is no stranger to dance, having worked closely with Ohad Naharin on Batsheva Dance Company productions such as Kyr and Anaphase. To the desert, Baleli brought a rugged, exposed sound that mirrors the controlled chaos of Ginz’s movement.
Following their premiere of Bamidbar Dvarim, Kamea will return to their studios to work on the next big project. Though Ginz is hesitant to reveal too many details, he affirms that two big projects are in motion. The first is the expansion of Kamea’s web in the international tour circuit. The second is to introduce other choreographers into the company’s repertoire.
“I want to give the dancers the opportunity to experience other choreographic voices,” says Ginz.
Although no names are mentioned, Ginz assured that the coming season will be a special one.
Bamidbar Dvarim will premiere at the Suzanne Dellal Center on April 10 and 11. For tickets, go to www.suzannedellal.org.il.