During this global epidemic as many of us are idle at home, we sat down with company dancer Megan Doheny and learn of her background and personal experience dancing in Kibbutz Contemporary Company, while living at our company’s home at The International Dance Village in Kibbutz Ga’aton, Israel.
Tell us a bit about your dance background and where you’re from. Where did you study and where did you dance prior to joining Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company?
I’m Megan. I grew up in Orange County, California and started dancing when I was 8 at a studio close to home called Pacific Dance. There, I trained in every style that was available to me- jazz, tap, ballet, modern, acrobatics…This studio was where I learned to love dance. Since then, my dancer-self has taken on many forms, and I have come to love many different ways of moving.
Where did you study and where did you dance prior to joining Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company?
I graduated from the Orange County School of the Arts in 2010. Following this, I studied toward a BFA in dance at the Alvin Ailey School & Fordham University, and at Chapman University before taking part in KCDC’s Dance Journey program, which led to me joining KCDC’s main company as a dancer in February 2016.
Can you tell us a bit about your experience participating in the company’s 5-month Dance Journey study abroad program here at the International Dance Village?
I can say, without a doubt, it is the reason that I was able to accomplish my dream of dancing professionally, specifically for KCDC’s main company. I met some of the most genuine people and beautiful movers from around the world doing this program, and we really built a family during our time here together. The kibbutz has a way of feeling like home for everyone.
The program itself is equally as challenging as it is nurturing, with some of the most incredible teachers who pushed me out of my comfort zone and opened me up to who I could become as an artist. On top of being physically intense and challenging, I think the program has a unique way of teaching students how to think and work as professional artists. I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who wishes to learn more about themselves as a dancer.
What attracted you to the movement language of Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and Rami Be’er’s work?
The first time I saw the company perform was in Los Angeles, in 2014. They were touring with “If At All”, and I was actually moved to tears after I saw the show. I couldn’t explain it- just a gut reaction. The raw, emotional expression and physical explosiveness of the dancers.… I had never experienced anything like it before. A few months later, I came to participate in the Dance Journey Program with a lot of hope and desire to soak up all that I could from this way of moving.
What is it like living among professional dancers, international dance students, and dance professionals at The International Dance Village in Kibbutz Ga’aton, Israel?
I think there is no other place in the world quite like this, and I am grateful to be a part of such a supportive dance community. We are lucky to be surrounded by nature and art here. Sometimes these two things aid each other, and sometimes one can act as a kind-of therapy for the overload of another. I personally love the balance.
Can you share with us how/what you feel dancing with the company on stage?
Being on stage is a thrillingly vulnerable experience. It is such an honest space, and by nature, it requires us to be as present as we can be, at least for the duration of the performance. I just try to be as generous with my concentration and energy as I can be in the moment. I find myself feeling the most alive when I am sharing something with someone else onstage, whether it be with a partner, the group, or the audience. It’s all about connection.
What’s your most memorable international experience with the company?
It is hard to pick only one! We have been to many beautiful places all over the world- Australia, South America, China, South Korea, many countries in Europe- but the most memorable experience would have to be performing in my hometown- Irvine, California. One of the most difficult things about being from abroad is that you don’t get to share a huge part of what you do, with your family or friends from home very often, if ever. Having all of these people who are so special to me in the audience that night, was something I will never forget.
Have you taught dance students at the Kibbutz Summer Intensive and/or the 5-month Dance Journey Program? If so, can you share what it means to you?
I was very lucky to create on the Dance Journey program dancers for 3 years, 6 processes in total. It was one of the greatest learning experiences I have ever had. I think creativity takes courage, learning to go with your gut, to listen to your instincts, and of course how to process feedback and the alternative viewpoints that make the art world so rich and colorful. The opportunity to have a playground like Dance Journey taught me the value of experimenting, and to trust in the spontaneous moments. It has been a special part of my process during my time in Israel.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just that I hope amidst this difficult time, we can find even small moments of being peaceful, to reconnect with what we feel is important and what we want to stand for once the world goes back to something close to normal. Let’s be kind to our planet, and to each other.
Come dance with us at our home at the International Dance Village in Kibbutz Ga’aton, Israel and take part in the: