As we look forward to returning to normalcy, we sat down with company dancer Theo Samsworth who hails from the U.K. and learn of his 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.
Hi I’m Theo, I’m from the UK and I grew up in a town called Hereford where I started contemporary classes at the age of 7 together with an inclusive organization for disabled and non-disabled dancers called Dancefest. From age 13-18 I was part of a contemporary youth company who met once a week, and it wasn’t until I was 18 when I went to dance school that I started to train properly.
Where did you study and where did you dance prior to joining Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company?
I graduated from London’s Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance with a BA in Contemporary Dance in 2013 and an MA in Performance from London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS) in 2015, during which I was an apprentice for Tavaziva Dance and a member of EDge, the postgraduate company at LCDS. I went on to continue working for Tavaziva Dance, Cathy Marston | The Royal Opera, (UK), Thierry Smits | Compagnie Thor (BE), Nelson Reguerra (HU), Liat Waysbort, IVGI&GREBEN (NL) & Sarah Baltzinger (FR/LU).
What attracted you to the movement language of Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and Rami Be’er’s work?
There is a precision and rawness, an assurance and a survival instinct, a powerful unity but also fiercely strong individuality that the dancers bring to the choreography that is beautiful and inspirational to see.
What is it like living amongst professional dancers, international dance students, and dance professionals at The International Dance Village in Kibbutz Ga’aton, Israel?
There is something very unique and special about living in this place; magic and madness! It was certainly an adjustment moving to the kibbutz but to be surrounded by such a large international network of dancers in such a remote location is a constant reminder of the unifying and non-discriminatory inclusivity that dance as a physical and emotional language has. Also, to have access to knowledge and experiences from people of so many different places and cultures is a very valuable opportunity to learn about the world, especially in a country whose history is built off discrimination.
Can you share with us how/what you feel dancing with the company on stage?
There are a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that go into the process leading up to a performance, but in the moment that you are on stage, there is a freedom and ownership to your own actions and emotions that can be at the same time unpredictable but also utterly liberating and cathartic, and to experience this as a group ensemble is a very powerful feeling.
What’s your most memorable international experience with the company?
Climbing the Great Wall of China and solo navigating the Forbidden City in Beijing in almost 40 degree heat and insane humidity are definitely experiences that will stay with me forever!
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 have taught improvisation classes for the Dance Journey Program and it is such a joy to share a pure love of movement with such a large group of passionate students and dancers. There is a lot of focus on technique and learning repertoire and the language of KCDC in the Dance Journey program, so I’ve really enjoyed sharing a space in which the opportunity to play and explore movement without judgement is possible and to focus on connecting purely as moving living people.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I believe that above all else, not only as dancers or artists but as human beings, that staying open to learning is the most important key to life, however much it can bruise the ego at times. Regardless of age or experience, to be open, to communicate, to listen, to question, to share, to encourage, to value dancers as people before they are dancers, with voices and opinions and individual experiences, this is what I believe makes us grow as artists and as people in this
For more on Theo’s interview: www.instagram.com/p/CBDof01FfAx
Come dance with us at our home at the International Dance Village in Kibbutz Ga’aton, Israel and take part in the: