Photo credit from left to right: Eyal Hirsh, Dunja Krajnc
Read this exclusive interview with the Artistic Director of Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC), Rami Be’er. Get insight into his life, his work and the continued success of KCDC on a world stage. He also reflects on the Summer Intensive and why it is a unique program for young aspiring dancers. Get in touch today to learn more about this summer’s program, starting July 10th!
Name: Rami Be’er
Title: Artistic Director of Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company
When did you first begin to dance?
I began to dance at a very early age. I was born in 1957 to parents who were very passionate about the arts. My father was an architect and violin player and my mother was an avid reader and studied poetry and literature. My first exposure to the arts was through my parents, but when I was three years old, I was introduced to the compelling world of movement by Yehudit Arnon, the founder of Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. She taught dance and movement at my kindergarten on the kibbutz. It was there that she recognised my need to move, which she nurtured as I grew up.
What did Yehudit Arnon inspire in her dancers?
Yehudit believed that dance is a process by which one can investigate the soul and bring about the most authentic reflection of oneself. Movement has the power to guide the human experience and to truly shape the individual. She was a firm believer that dance is for everyone and it is movement that connects us all.
Why did you decide to devote your life to dance?
It was clear from the beginning that my life would be rich in culture and dance, but it truly was the guidance of Yehudit and the support of my parents that gave me the encouragement to dedicate my life to dance. Growing up on the kibbutz, dance was always part of my life. But it was after my experience in the Israeli army that I decided to really explore the world of dance professionally.
What is your relationship to the Kibbutz Ga’aton?
Kibbutz Ga’aton is an incredibly special place for me. Not only is it very beautiful, surrounded by lush nature with views stretching far and wide, but it also is the perfect environment to do the explorative work I need to do. The quiet and seclusion allows me to focus and completely immerse myself in my research. But above all, this is the place where I feel most connected in the world. This is where my family, social and professional lives intersect.
What inspires you as an artist and choreographer?
I take inspiration from everywhere. Sources of inspiration can be the movement of trees, an intriguing piece of music, a conversation, a poem, a historical moment, an interesting building, a flickering of light against a wall. When I am touched by a subject, I will start to envision movement that will eventually go through a metamorphosis into a fully-developed piece.
In a few words, what makes KCDC so unique?
At KCDC we look for dancers who have are musically attuned, technically strong, but most importantly, dancers who have a developed natural movement. We do not try to mold dancers into a rigid form but search for ways to bring the true dancer out. It is the complex and colorful tapestry of unique movements from each and every dancer that makes each KCDC piece so interesting. When a dancer is honest, it will make a greater impact on the observer.
What made you want to create an International Dance Village as an extension of the KCDC Company?
Since the 1970’s, KCDC has grown as a company, becoming a real creative force in the Israeli dance scene. But I wanted to find a way to reach out to a wider community of dancers and non-dancers alike.
I started to think about developing an infrastructure, much like a pyramid, under which all the KCDC dance activities and programs happen. The pyramid is comprised of the first company, second company, Dance Journey, Summer Intensive and community classes and outreach.
Creating the International Dance Village meant providing a place where all types of people from all walks of life can come into contact with and be inspired by dance and movement.
What makes studying dance at the International Dance Village so special?
For many of the same reasons why I stay here at the kibbutz, I believe are what makes dancing at the International Dance Village so special. The natural and secluded setting of the kibbutz truly facilitates the creative process.
Another extraordinary element of the Dance Village is that students and professional dancers from all programs are all located in the same space, which means there is a lot of interaction and support amongst both young and experienced dancers. It has truly become a vivid dance community.
How did the Summer Intensive come to exist?
The Summer Intensive has been around since 2008 when we recognized there was a need for a short-term, intensive dance program to provide a framework upon which young dancers could get a glimpse into our universe of dance. It was originally offered to Israelis and has become an increasingly international program.
We also believe that the Summer Intensive will connect young dancers to the KCDC community, hopefully giving them access to the rest of our various programs.
What do you think the Summer Intensive gives young dancers to take away?
The Summer Intensive is not only an invaluable dance experience, it is also an incredible life experience. During the program, dancers will be immersed in a world of creativity and movement where they will get a chance to truly know themselves.
The students will also be given many tools by which to understand movement. They will learn how to first go inside themselves to find their natural movement and to bring this out and present it to an audience. They will take away a clear process for developing themselves as dancers and for finding their own unique voice.
Another aspect of the Summer Intensive that will leave a lasting impact is the social aspect. Being in a close community of dancers, exchanging ideas and experiences is incredibly inspiring.
I am positive young dancers who participated in the Summer Intensive will thoroughly enjoy this experience of discovery, exchange and creativity.
For young aspiring dancers, what piece of advice would you give them?
If you have the undeniable and unrelenting need to dance, then you must explore it. Although the path to a being a professional requires commitment and a lot of hard work, the struggle is all worth it to achieve your dream. Never become complacent, always keep researching, exploring and moving.