Choreographing history

'Aide Memoire' is not about the Holocaust, despite popular belief, but depicts the long-lasting ripples that the Holocaust created.

Rami Be'er's ‘Aide Memoire.’ (photo credit: GADI DAGON)
Rami Be'er's ‘Aide Memoire.’
(photo credit: GADI DAGON)
Rami Be’er’s opus Aide Memoire is not about the Holocaust, despite popular belief.
The dance piece does not claim to depict or react to the specific events of that period in history.
What the piece does deal with, and translate into breathtaking dance, are the long-lasting ripples that the Holocaust created, memories that became echoes ever sounding through society.
Tonight, Aide Memoire will be presented at the Sherover Theater in Jerusalem.
Growing up in Israel, Be’er was surrounded by first and second- generation survivors. Their presence in society shaped the development of Israeli culture. In 1994, shortly before taking over as artistic director of the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Be’er broached what he saw as a quiet presence in daily life through movement. The result was Aide Memoire, an evening- length work that left audiences awed. Since then, Aide Memoire has been performed consistently and has come to be known as Be’er seminal work.
The inspiration for Aide Memoire came from troupe founder Yehudit Arnon’s personal experiences in the Holocaust. As a young woman, Arnon stood barefoot in the snow for hours as punishment for her refusal to dance at the Nazis’ demand. In that moment, Arnon swore to herself that if she survived, she would never stop dancing. Thirty years after that dreadful day, Arnon founded the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Kibbutz Ga’aton, ensuring that she and everyone else that wanted to would never have to stop dancing.
In the piece, large wooden planks border the back wall of the stage. At times, the dancers support themselves and one another on these boards, never letting their feet touch the ground. At others, they violently strike the boards, creating an image of anger and frustration.
The piece weaves together various vignettes, each with its own ambiance. The complete picture is one of loss, community and hope.
Following tonight’s performance, Aide Memoire will be presented at the Suzanne Dellal Center’s Tel Aviv Dance. The piece was chosen as one of several iconic Israeli creations in this year’s program along with Ohad Naharin’s Mamootot and Virus, Inbal Pinto’s Oyster and Vertigo Dance Company’s Birth of the Phoenix.

Aide Memoire will take place tonight at 9 p.m. at the Sherover Theater. For more information, visit