Bringing love to Beer Sheva

German choreographer Marco Goecke brings his iconic work ‘Nichts’ to Kamea Dance Company.

‘Nichts’ (photo credit: KFIR BOLUTIN)
(photo credit: KFIR BOLUTIN)
As a dancer, Marco Goecke dreamed of dancing for the Netherlands Dance Theater (NDT 2), but it never worked out. For years this dream lived in Goecke’s imagination, and was the cause of both inspiration and frustration. At the time, he had no idea that he would not only enter the walls of the famed company but that he would become one of the most cherished choreographers that the troupe employed.

Goecke was born and raised in Germany. He trained at the Heinz-Bosl-Stiftung Ballet Academy in Munich and later at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. In 1999, while dancing for the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Goecke created his first choreography. “It was performed in a small ballet studio,” he said over the phone from Zurich, where he is currently working on a project. Goecke, 47, has an entrancing voice, deep and rich. He takes his time choosing words, allowing his thoughts the leisure to navigate the conversation. “It’s been twenty years. Then I did another one that we went for competitions but didn’t win anything. I did 75 pieces since then. That’s quite a lot.”

In 2008, after establishing himself as a rising star in the European dance community, Goecke received an invitation to create a work for NDT 2. “I was in the same evening with Jiri Kylian,” “It was a bit nerve-wracking because I had an enormous respect for this company. I did my thing, I was myself but I was excited [that] I found myself working in this place. Especially to meet Kylian, who supported me a lot in my career. It was an important step in my life.”

For NDT 2, Goecke created Nichts, a group work that boasted his rhythmic and physically demanding contemporary ballet vocabulary. The work, which is danced to music by Keith Jarrett and Jimi Hendrix, won acclaim for the company as well as for Goecke. It was followed by invitations to Goecke to create further works for NDT, and eventually to become a resident choreographer for the company. This month, Beersheba’s Kamea Dance Company will present Nichts in Israel for the first time. The evening will also include two works by Itzik Galili: Peeled and Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White. This will mark the inaugural collaboration between Kamea and Goecke that both sides hope will continue in the future.

“It was planned that I come to Israel to work with them but timewise it’s not possible and this is really sad,” explained Goecke. “I said yes to the company because I heard it’s a very good company, the dancers are fabulous and Tamir Ginz wants to work with me in the future. That would be a gift for me, I’ve never been to Israel and that’s a dream of mine.”

He went on to say that travel has become more difficult in recent years as his beloved dog is suffering from health problems. Born the same year as Nichts, Goecke’s canine companion is a major factor in his yearly planning. “He’s the center of my life,” he said.

GOECKE SENT a trusted colleague and ballet master to Israel to impart his repertory to the dancers of Kamea. T hough the dancers have worked with similar styles in the past, Goecke’s work requires a very specific level of attention. The choreography is completely set, with very little wiggle room for interpretation. “My vocabulary is very strict. Some dancers have told me over the years that they’ve never felt so free. That’s very interesting because it’s very strict, but they feel free. That’s very nice,” said Goecke.

Interactions with dancers is what keeps him going and his reason for getting out of bed every morning, going into the studio and adding new dances to his already formidable body of work. “When I look back at all these pieces I ask if I can make another one. I can’t do it again. I think at home I can’t do another one. But as soon as I’m in the studio, in front of the dancers, something clicks. Meeting dancers makes it possible. Sometimes when they reach something beautiful, I am so fulfilled. When they give me that, I’m happy for a while. At the end we say goodbye, like in life. It’s all a big metaphor for falling in love. I have to fall in love with these people to make a piece and they have to fall in love with me. It’s a never-ending love affair with very many people.”

Kamea Dance Company will perform ‘Nichts’ on March 14 at the Be’er Sheva Performing Arts Center and on March 17 and 18 at the Suzanne Dellal Center. For more information, visit