Choreographing Carmina

The Beersheba-based Kamea Dance Company combines Carl Orff's music with Tamir Ginz's moves.

Carl Orff's romantically dramatic music; Kamea's dancers; the Beersheva Sinfonietta conducted by Doron Solomon; soloists from the Israel Opera; and the Tel Aviv Chamber Choir all come together for the Israeli debut of Tamir Ginz's Carmina Burana at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center on January 3. Choreographer/dancer Ginz, a founding artistic director of the six-year-old Beersheba dance company, Kamea, premiered the work at Passos in Cyprus in September 2007. It has since traveled to Lithuania, represented Israel at the Beijing Olympics and is now off to Turkey. "I've always considered it a masterpiece," Ginz says of Orff's work. "You have to do right by the music, so I approached it very humbly. By the time I started, I knew every word, every note. At the beginning, the lyrics inspired the movement, then it evolved into working through the music so that the dance sometimes complements, sometimes goes against the lyrics." In 1803, an extraordinary collection of 320 medieval songs and poems was discovered at the southern Bavarian monastery of Benediktbeuern, dating back to around 1230 CE. On the whole, these were not religious songs; rather, they were satirical ones, together with songs celebrating springtime, love, courtship and the tavern. Orff set 24 of them to music and gave the piece the same name as the collection - Carmina Burana. Ginz had not contemplated choreographing Carmina until he got a call from Cypriot arts patron Rea Ioaniado. She commissioned the piece "because it was her dream to do this work with dance and live music. She comes to Israel every year for [the dance festival] International Exposure. She saw my work [there] and liked it." That work was probably Limelight, a dance-theater piece that focused on Charlie Chaplin as a metaphor representing an artist in today's world. Kamea debuted in 2003 with the well received Secret Garden that deals with the inner world of autistic children. Since Carmina premiered in Cyprus, Ginz has almost completely rechoreographed his dance, "and although this vision is more complete, I think it will always be a work in progress." Carmina Burana will also be at the Beersheba Performing Arts Center on January 28 and February 29.