Zooming in on consumerism

The Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s ‘Transform’ is a quirky, fun, energetic and, at times, ironic piece.

Transform 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Transform 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
For the past four years, the Tel Aviv Dance festival has presented major companies and dance ensembles from abroad to the Israeli crowd. Each season the festival grows in attendance and prestige. In addition to the selected foreign troupes, there is always a smattering of performances by local dance groups. When it comes to Tel Aviv Dance, there are two regulars: the Batsheva Dance Company and the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company.
This year, KCDC’s artistic director, Rami Be’er, put together a new piece for the festival. Transform was created with the help of the 12 dancers of KCDC’s main company. The piece was performed twice at Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center as part of Tel Aviv Dance and will now be added to KCDC’s repertoire.
On Tuesday night, KCDC will present Transform at the Suzanne Dellal Center, adapted to fit a smaller stage. It will continue to run through the end of 2010 at theaters around the country.
The company is currently on a world tour, which has included performances in Germany, Georgia and Mexico. After this engagement in Israel, they will continue on to the Ukraine, Turkey, Canada and the US. A busy is schedule is par for the course for Be’er’s posse. This year alone, the company has premiered two new works, Transform and In the Black Garden, a co-production with the Wolfsburg Festival in Germany.
Since 1996 when he was appointed artistic director, Be’er has done more than 40 full-length pieces for KCDC. His more successful endeavors include Aide Memoir, Upon Reaching the Sun and Ekodoom.
He has also been invited to set pieces for numerous companies around the world.
In addition to the intense tour schedule, KCDC has spent the past several years developing the Dance Village, an extension of its facilities on Kibbutz Ga’aton. This new branch of the company is dedicated to expanding its well-known preprofessional training program for young dancers and presenting dance to the local community in the western Galilee.
With Transform, Be’er examines the consumerism of our daily lives. Having been raised on a kibbutz in the north of the country, where he still lives and works, materialism and personal relationships to finance are constant issues in his life. As Be’er sees it, globalization inhibits our ability to make authentic decisions about our real needs. His investigation of this topic, combined with the exuberance of his cast of dancers, makes for a quirky, fun and, at times, ironic piece.
As in many of his previous works, Be’er designed the set and the lighting for Transform.
To highlight the ridiculousness of our compulsive need to buy, Be’er exaggerates certain daily activities, such as a woman’s haircare ritual. The costumes include bunny heads (much like the Energizer bunny from the 1990s ad campaign); French maid uniforms and cutesy military-like dresses. Music for this piece runs the gamut from classical (Bach) to contemporary electronic music (Animal Collective).
KCDC’s performances are always high-energy events. Whether that zest is transmitted through insanely bright lights, as in 60HZ, or virtuoso physical movement, Be’er has a knack for filling a stage to the brim with ideas.
KCDC will perform Transform at the Suzanne Dellal Center on November 2; at the Givatayim Theater on November 4; and at the Herzliya Performing Arts Center on November 10. For additional details and more dates, visit www.kcdc.co.il.