Dancing till they drop

kibbutz dance co.88 (photo credit: )
kibbutz dance co.88
(photo credit: )
Rami Be'er is one of the few choreographers in the world with the good fortune to have had a mentor, Judit Arnon, who recognized his talents when he was just starting off. Arnon, founder of the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, gave the young dancer the opportunity to create his first work, Michael's Horse, for the company. Be'er eventually took over the dance company, putting the company on the map both nationally and internationally. The company is known for its tremendous energy and power. Modern dance in Israel today is of no particular style, neither post-modern nor neoclassic. Instead, it has made its mark through its spectacular dynamism. The turmoil of the region has influenced both the execution and the choice of subject - a quality that has made it particularly intriguing for world audiences. A desperate kind of energy makes up for the low level of work on technique done here in comparison to the rest of the world. Israelis have a different temperament, felt nowhere more so than in the Kibbutz Dance Company's movement language - a mixed salad of techniques including ballet, modern, physical theater, drama, acrobatics, pantomime and the martial arts. Be'er's latest work with the Kibbutz Dance Company Eco-Doom, premieres tomorrow at the Israel Festival. Reached by phone interview, Be'er explains that the name of the work has a two-fold meaning: "Eco is from ecology, and doom relates to a hopeless, fated end. There are two sides here: one can sculpt his world and choose what he wants it to be. For me, it is about choice, [one] as simple as having coffee today with sugar or without . . . there is fantasy, romance and dreams on the one hand, and violence, discrimination and nuclear war on the other. It's all in our hands, how we choose to live." No matter how much success Be'er has enjoyed over the years, putting on a new production is like beginning all over again - the same worries, hopes and fears. "Art and creativity are the essence of my life. Art for me is not just esthetics and fables; it's about the here and now. Through art I can talk about life. As an artist I work in totality - the movement, dance, music, text, costumes and lighting make up the total world on stage. With all these elements I create the atmosphere. Then I invite the audience to go on a journey with me. When the lights are switched off, I throw them the end of a rope and draw them into the work. Somewhere along the way I leave them alone and allow them to wander freely, using their own associations and illusions to make a story." Saturday at 9:30 p.m., Sunday at 8:30 p.m. For information, call the Jerusalem Theater at 1-700-70-20-55.