Friday, June 07, 2013

Contemporary Jewish Dance

Yes, there's a modern religious Jewish dance company:

Tzlota is their current performance.

That's Aramaic for "prayer".

They have a clip posted.

As they explain:

Dance and Theatre School for men “Kol Atzmotai Tomarna” was founded in 2007, established in order to meet the need within the religious community for a professional framework of dance and movement studies for men.

Ka'et Ensemble is the cooperative creative group of "Kol Atzmotai" graduates. The Ensemble numbers nine members who wish to authentically express their cultural and social identities through dance, and bring their unique voices to the artistic and cultural dialogue of the contemporary dance world in Israel and abroad.

And I discovered that even the New York Times is aware of the group's existence and Janice Ross wrote a review:

...a slender peace is being brokered between the religious and secular in an unexpected arena, contemporary dance. In forums as diverse as this city’s leading alternative arts space, a conservative women’s college in the West Bank, a popular Israeli television series, yeshiva-schooled men and pious young Jewish women are separately using movement to bridge this chasm.
Perhaps the epitome of this effort is Ka’et, a group of five Orthodox men working under the direction of a Tel Aviv choreographer, Ronen Izhaki. Together they create spare yet emotionally rich work that takes gestures from daily prayer movements along with chants and synagogue attire, and gently shifts and reframes these elements as postmodern dance....
[Ronen Itzhaki] began working with religious men as an outgrowth of an experiment in 2000 initiated by the head of a yeshiva in Akko, Israel. The idea was that introducing dance could help with the devotional quality of students’ spiritual work. That first foray lasted only a few months, but, Mr. Izhaki said, “I discovered a different movement language.”
...Noga, a company of religious women at a college in the West Bank, Judea and Samaria may perform only for female audiences. That troupe, begun in 2009, also specializes in contemporary work based on religious themes, but it is more traditional, and its impact has been more limited than Ka’et’s.
The men’s ability to draw religious and secular Israelis into the same theater for a dance performance is highly unusual...


No comments: