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The spirit that moves them
By ORI J. LENKINSKI
06/28/2012
The haredi male dancers of the Ka’et Ensemble take part in the Jerusalem Season of Culture.
 
For centuries, dance has been intricately woven into religious practices. Be it a rain dance in the desert, an extended session of spinning in tight circles or the rite of spring, physical practice and spirituality often go hand in hand. In 2007, a group of haredi men got together to realize their dream of expressing their faith through movement. Thus the Ka’et Ensemble was formed.

Next week, the ensemble will present a singular, unusual and truly inspired performance as part of the Jerusalem Season of Culture’s In House Festival.

Curated by artistic director Dafna Kron, the In House Festival boasts a diverse, multi-genre program. Over the weekend, a number of houses, apartments and other unconventional performance spaces will be transformed into stages.

Music, dance and theater events will open once locked doors to audiences who are interested in a different kind of performance experience.

For the Ka’et Ensemble, this festival presented an opportunity to explore a space that was near and dear to their hearts. The Yakar Synagogue in the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem is a center for learning, prayer and community interaction. Founded by Rabbi Michael Rosen, the Yakar Synagogue has had branches in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and London.

Inside the four walls of the synagogue, the seven male dancers of Ka’et will enact a new interpretation of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov’s “The Story of the Seven Beggars” by artistic directors Tami and Ronen Itzhaki. In The Seventh Beggar, the audience will be asked to research texts and search around the space in an attempts to tell the untold story of the piece’s namesake.

To watch the performers of the Ka’et Ensemble is to behold true commitment. The intensity that each one of the dancers brings to the stage is truly unparalleled. In previous works, the Ka’et Ensemble has woven together religious texts with current electronic music, providing a rare window into the inner lives of members of the religious community.

Ka’et’s previous works include Highway No. 1 by Tami and Ronen Itzhaki; House Committee by Aviv Eveguy; and In His Body He Shall Come, In His Body He Shall Leave by Hanania Schwartz.

The Jerusalem Season of Culture is an initiative of the Schusterman Foundation of Israel in association with the Jerusalem Municipality and the Jerusalem Foundation. Events began in May and will span through the end of July including dance, poetry, theater, film and music.

The Seventh Beggar will be performed at the Yakar Synagogue on July 3 and 4 and at the Yedidya Synagogue on July 5. For more information, visit www.jerusalemseason.com.

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