Donating quantities

The Batsheva Dance Company is bringing its participatory 'Kamuyot' to Rwanda for the inauguration of an orphan youth village.

Batsheva dance 88 248 (photo credit: Gadi Dagon)
Batsheva dance 88 248
(photo credit: Gadi Dagon)
Sneakers. That's what the kids want at the soon-to-be inaugurated Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) in Rwanda, about 40 kilometers from the capital, Kigali. And that's what the Batsheva Dance Company is taking along when it leaves for ASYV on Thursday to dance Ohad Naharin's Kamuyot (Quantities) at the inaugural ceremony. "We're gathering as many as we can, in all sizes," says Batsheva general manager Naomi Fortis. "That's what they asked for." The audience-friendly and participatory Kamuyot is "an anthem to the excitingly unexpected; Kamuyot is about growing up, about finding a way through our mortal world," we wrote in the past. Kids love and "get" it all over the world, and "the way we see it, every child everywhere has the right to see Kamuyot," Fortis proclaims. And it's played lots of places outside Israel - Sweden, Lisbon, Sydney, Berlin, New York…. ASYV is for teens from 14 to 18, more specifically for some of the orphans of the frightful massacres of 1994 that left thousands of children parentless. Right now there are 190 of them involved. The village will eventually accommodate some 500. They'll live at the village, go to American-style high school and benefit from many enrichment programs. It's modeled on the Israeli youth villages established during the years of Youth Aliya - specifically on Yemin Orde, which has worked most recently with Ethiopian and Russian youth. The funding comes from the JDC and from other US Jewish charities. Here comes the serendipity: It seems that somebody involved with ASYV saw Kamuyot, and when preparations for inauguration started, "they called us and we said 'Yes!' and then we started to think about how to do it," laughs Fortis. "Mind you, there were moments when I thought it would be easier to appear on the moon." Batsheva Dance is bringing almost everything with it, including the PVC dance floor. Just to find a couple of speakers involved the most cunning detective work. Ex-Batsheva dancer Stefan Ferry has gone ahead to teach the kids the elements of GaGa (Naharin's dance language) and the basics of deejaying. During the company's five days at ASYV there will be workshops and encounters of all kinds - and the Batsheva Dance campus will always be open. "We'll share with the kids everything that we can," says Fortis.