Prior to attending the Kibbutz Summer Intensive in Israel, I had heard only incredible feedback from peers who had spent summers training there, as well as friends who had completed the international Dance Journey Program.  Everyone who I talked to about the program assured me that the experience was truly life-changing mentally and physically, and I can now see why!  Attending was one of the greatest decisions I made to further my development as an artist and a human.

I found myself more deeply immersed in not only the movement, but the sensations of the phrase work. It was during improvisational/movement class during the Intensive, surrounded by my peers in such a supportive environment, that I realized I could delve even deeper than what I previously had thought I could.  I found myself pushing past previous limits.

I really enjoyed living at the International Dance Village. All the members of the Kibbutz are incredibly welcoming and allowed me to feel as though I was truly part of the community. It felt like a truly authentic look at Israeli life and I was thankful for the Dance Village in being so accommodating. I enjoyed taking daily walks throughout the Kibbutz and found myself inspired by the simplest things: the flowers, the trees, the fresh air. The Dance Village seemed to be buzzing with a lively energy that induced gratitude and openness.

The daily routine at the Summer Intensive was definitely tiring and full, but also allowed a great amount of time to recharge and truly recover from the long dance days. Breakfast was at 8 am and then the first class began at 9. This first class went until 10:30 and was always sure to truly warm our bodies up for a full day of movement ahead. After a 15 minute break, we would usually switch studios, grab a small snack and head into the second class of the day, 10:45-12:15. Then we would have lunch followed by two more classes. Ultimately, the dancing for the day would end at 4:45/5 PM. The classes during the day ranged from ballet, modern, body-work, improv, repertory, and even occasionally hip-hop. It was incredible to have such a broad genre of classes to keep us all on our toes and engaged. Despite what class I was in though, I always felt supported, but challenged enough to truly grow. After the last class we had free-time to do as we pleased! This was a great time for me to reflect on lessons and techniques I had learned throughout the day. I walked and journaled on the day’s experiences and set intentions and goals for the coming days. During free-time we were allowed to swim, lay out on the grass, explore the grounds, head to the cafe, call home, etc. Then we would have dinner at 7 followed by a group activity that allowed us to further understand one another as well as learn more about KCDC, its work, and its mission.

The staff, teachers, and other dancers truly felt like my family and thus, the Dance Village quickly became a home away from home. Now, I find myself homesick for Israel and in need of going back to this family!

I truly loved everything about spending my summer dancing in Israel. I woke up every day and had to ask myself if I was dreaming. It felt unreal to me that I was doing what I love, surrounded by so much talent, in perhaps one of the most beautiful countries I had seen before. If I had one regret it would be that I only did the 2-week program and not the full 6-week. Of course there were moments of extreme tiredness and so much soreness that I found myself wondering, “Can I actually get through this next class?” But the amazing thing is, I always did get through. And I didn’t just “get through” the classes or the days to be done with them, I found myself so immersed in the learning, in the art, in the movement that when they were over, I felt recharged. But at the same time, I felt that I had truly given everything I could. Allowing myself to reach this level of exhaustion was such an incredible way of showing myself just how strong I was.

The Kibbutz Summer intensive will not only give you the courage to push past your limits, it gives you clarity, gratitude, and a forever home always waiting for you in Israel.

Lil Aronoff
New York, USA

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