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Journey to a legend: Israel dance première

MALCOLM MILLER admires the world première of
Rami Be'er's ballet 'Upon reaching the sun'
at the Tel-Aviv Performing Arts Centre

 

Thrilling expressive choreography, dynamic dancing and imaginative set and lighting effects contributed to the electrifying experience at the world première of Upon reaching the Sun, Rami Be'er's new ballet performed by the outstanding Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company at Tel-Aviv Performing Arts Center in Israel on 30 April 2005. The original concept was an allegorical tale that invites one's own interpretation with stunning tableaux to Alex Claude's inspired sound design, a musical tapestry from rock to tango, leading groups such as Sigur Ros, Ske, 310, H Hilmarsson, Colleen and Massive Attack, and remarkable texts from Buchner's Woyzeck overlaying the electro-acoustic effects. The performance marked the last of a season of international dance companies, including Hungary, Greece, Spain and Japan, at the Performing Arts Center, one of Tel Aviv's many new architectural highpoints with its designer interior and superlative stage and auditorium. The center is also home to the New Israeli Opera that celebrates its 20th anniversary on 21 May with a new opera, Journey to the End of the Millennium, with music by Josef Bardanashvili to a text by A B Yehoshua.

A scene from the première production of Rami Be'er's ballet 'Upon reaching the sun', danced by the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. Photo © 2005 Gadi Dagon
A scene from the première production of Rami Be'er's ballet 'Upon reaching the sun', danced by the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. Photo © 2005 Gadi Dagon

The KCDC, formed in 1970, is one of Israel's most successful dance companies (Bat Sheva and the recently closed Inbal are also internationally renowned) with a team of dancers in their twenties who work wonderfully in ensemble, duet and solo. Rami Be'er has been their Artistic Director since 1996, having been first a dancer and then choreographer from 1980, with a list that extends to over 40 works, several of them televised and available on DVDs (one of his hits is a brilliant Hebrew version of the Carnival of the Animals). His hallmark is the use of a single and subtle prop as set costume and stage effect, and in this work it was a simple pole that unravelled as a wicker mat, and which could fan out to be a type of gown, robe or dress, or a cubicle in which dancers hid, or a square that created with the lighting effects a chequered stage in which different actions would take place.

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Copyright © 12 May 2005 Malcolm Miller, London UK

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