Group unity meets individual defiance ‘A Good Citizen’

It is expected that Ne’er will hand in a creation that is the product of serious background work and well-thought content, which dictates the aesthetics of hi work.

July 13, 2019 22:04
2 minute read.
Group unity meets individual defiance ‘A Good Citizen’

DANCERS PERFORM Rami Be'er's ‘A Good Citizen’. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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One by one the dancers onstage state their names and add: “I am a good citizen” while the rest stay still. Artistic director Rami Be’er quotes excerpts from Robert Valzar’s book by same cynical name. Over the soundtrack, a male voice recites his birth date, names the place he grew up in, adding: “My name is such and such, my trade is such and such, and I don’t think much. I am a male, I come from a good family, as far as the state is concerned, I am a good citizen.” This good citizen likes to sip his beer, eat well, and refrain from deep thoughts or ideas, God forbid, why take a risk?! 

Be’er has created numerous works with relatively subtle political over tones – excluding one pertaining to the Intifada. A Good Citizen joins them and picks up the irony in the life of a citizen who doesn’t see, hear or think outside of the comfort of his caged box. He feels good – and safe as a sheep in a herd. We, of all people, know that history tells us another story.

In fact, Be’er created a beautiful scene of dancers on all fours that looks like sheep following their leader. It was visually very impressive, yet too obvious, an approach Be’er usually avoids.

There were eighteen dancers on stage; all dressed in Mao Zedong jackets and indigo-colored basic outfits, the color of the working class. On stage, in a moment of semi-dim light, their individual features faded somewhat, turning them into an anonymous, faceless crowd.

They often moved in and out rigidly within tight groups, yet each time the majority of them were in sync with the unified moves, there was always one who was contrary to the rest, acting independently in defiance.

The dancers work was challenging, oscillating between fast, strong actions and large movements, and fine attention to details. In one unusually haunting scene, the dancer’s body was frozen in a sitting position and the dancer concentrated on moving the left shoulder exclusively, or the complex variations of gesturing with the fingers.

It is expected that Ne’er will hand in a creation that is the product of serious background work and well-thought content, which dictates the aesthetics of hi work. A Good Citizen is a fine example.

The company currently has a tight international cast with very good dancers, and there is an excellent chance that Be’er made his point clearly, judging by the audience’s strong and loud reaction.

Kibbutz Contemporary
Dance Company
Artistic Director Rami Be’er
Suzanne Dellal Center, July 8

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