We sat down with renowned dancer and choreographer and former KCDC dancer Oryan Yohanan; one of the Summer Intensive teachers, and asked her a few questions about her experience as a dancer, as well as a teacher at KCDC. We hope it will give you a better understanding of the summer intensive experience. Get in touch today to learn more about this summer’s program, starting July 2018!
Name: Oryan Yohanan
Title: Professional Dancer and Multidisciplinary Artist
What are you working on these days?
These days I am working on my own solo creation, it will premiere at “Arena Dance Festival” on July, 2016 in Jerusalem and later on in Tel Aviv. For this creation I am combining all of my artistic passions which are dance, improvisation and plastic art. I am also performing two other pieces, the first is “Poly Monopoly” by a great choreographer Sahar Azimi, who I have been working with for the last 3 years. The second piece I am performing is “Sunny Side Down” by the young choreographer Noa Shiloh. Aside from working on my own piece and these performances, I am teaching all over the Israel. In my free time, I am also writing poetry, sculpting and painting.
What is your dance education and professional background?
I have been dancing since I was just 6 years old. I grew up in Jerusalem where I attended classes at private ballet studios, specialized in R.A.D method and later in Vaganova Method. I then went onto study at the Jerusalem Academy for Music and Dance, while also taking classes in many other dance studios and several summer schools abroad. I then started my professional career with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC) lead by Artistic Director Rami Be’er. I danced there for 4 years in key roles. I later moved to Tel Aviv and worked for The Project Company where I danced creations by William Forsythe, Jacopo Godani, Marco Goecke, Emanuel Gat and more. Since 2010 I have been working as freelance dancer and worked with about 16 choreographers (including Sahar Azimi, Gili Navot, Idit Herman & Clipa theatre, Dafi Altbeb, Yoni Soutchy, Shlomi Bitton) on 20 different pieces. As freelance dancer I was also awarded in 2014 by the Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sport for my efforts as a performing dancer.
How did you come to be a teacher at the KCDC Summer Intensive?
As former soloist in the company, KCDC is always a place I call home. Naturally, I keep working with the company on different occasions after I became a freelancer. I am able to teach the company’s repertoire and can bring by extensive experience in the company with me.
What are your classes like?
My classes are very varied and develop together along with my experience. I teach ballet, contemporary dance, floor work, improvisation and repertoire. In my classes, I encourage students to try new things and look as deeply as possible into every moment. I want students to be aware of the movement and all it’s information, to be present in oneself and each intention. It is also about searching – I really encourage students to research.
What type / style of music do you work with?
Music is a great passion of mine and I have a big library of music from all over the world. Any music can be used in my classes, as long that it brings a special quality, vibration or theme. Music is very powerful in the sense it can define a specific quality for the body or space, it can also create a character or time zone, it can dictate emotions or be used as a blank platform for something completely unique.
What makes your class special? What is the most important thing you want the dancers to take away from your class?
The first one is a question for the students, but if I must answer I think that will be the fact that the students are constantly required to think and search and question themselves in order to break habits and gain new understanding about their body and the craft.
I share with my students the insight of what it is like as a professional dancer, because I want them to understand its a hard profession but can also be the most rewarding. As long as you keep expanding your horizons and keep working to master your body and soul, there is a good chance you will have a long and satisfying career.
I wish to inspire my students to understand that a dancer is first of all an artist. An artist must make choices all the time and by making smart choices, it is possible to develop one’s own uniqueness, strength and magic. That can be achieved only by hard work and an ever-expanding knowledge.
What do you think is the best part of the Summer Intensive?
First of all – the location! Kibbutz Ga’aton is an absolutely a beautiful place to be. But without a doubt, the best thing about it is the opportunity to experience real and meaningful dance classes alongside great teachers and students from all around Israel and abroad.
What do you think the Summer Intensive gives dance students to take away?
I believe that a student in the Summer Intensive Program will develop not only technique and strength, but also will have a great opportunity to experience the best that Israeli contemporary dance can offer. Israel has become a leader in the contemporary dance scene and the Summer Intensive is a fantastic way get a taste. Students will learn new ways of dancing and using one’s body as well as developing more ways of understanding and applying movement.
Anything else you want to say?
I look forward to seeing you this summer in my classes!