Irish dance competition canceled due to BDS pressure

"We wanted to show people in Israel what real Irish dance is and can be," say dancers.

July 12, 2015 20:48
1 minute read.
 Irish dance

MARINA FRUMKIN and Pavel Kolesov, the directors of Carey Academy Israel, an international chain of Irish dance studios.. (photo credit: FEISPHOTOS)

For many years Marina Frumkin and Pavel Kolesov dreamed of hosting a feis, or Irish dance competition, in Israel. While many may associate Irish dance with the bewildering stepping of Lord of the Dance, competitive performance is at the heart of the art form.

The two teachers/dancers, directors of the prestigious Carey Academy Israel, an international chain of Irish dance studios, were nearing the realization of their dream with a feis scheduled for next month. However, last week, due to intensifying pressures from various international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) groups, Frumkin and Kolesov put out the following statement on the academy’s Facebook page: “Unfortunately we have to announce the cancellation of what would have been the first Israeli Feis. Not long ago the feis page started to be attacked by a radical political group called Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) led by Raymond Deane, Kevin Squires and Amanda Crawford. Threatening messages were sent not only to our teachers, but also parents and students.

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“Age, nationality, or religious beliefs do not matter to us. Unfortunately, there was a protest outside of our dance studio. We do not want to risk safety of anyone connected to the Carey Academy. The feis was not meant to be anything more than what it really is – a celebration of dancing, friendship and joy. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused to people who may have already booked tickets but I am sure you understand the safety of our dancers is our number one priority.”

The IPSC quickly posted a number of celebratory messages including, “Victory Declared – another decisive battle in the war against apartheid.”

The feis was set to host dancers aged six to 60 from around the globe in mid-August in Tel Aviv. A deflated-sounding Frumkin explained over the phone, “We put a lot of work into organizing this event, which we hope will happen in the future. And though we are very disappointed, we had to put the emotional and physical safety of the dancers first.”

“We’ve been traveling the world participating in Irish dance competitions for many years,” added Kolesov, “representing Israel. We wanted to show people in Israel what real Irish dance is and can be.”

Frumkin and Kolesov have, for the time being, shelved the idea of an Israeli feis.

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