During this global epidemic surrounding COVID-19 and as many of us are idle at home, we sat down with main company dancer Tristán Carter, hailing from just outside Melbourne, Australia and learn of his background and personal experience dancing in Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and 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.
I’m Tristan, I come from the Dandenong Mountains outside of Melbourne, Australia and I’ve been with the company for just over three years now. I was always dancing as a kid, putting on shows for my family or just myself. When I was 5 years old I began really simple musical theater classes, 45-minutes of singing and 45-minutes of movement per week. That was the beginning of the learning for me which then snowballed as it typically does, picking up jazz, tap, contemporary, ballet etc.
Where did you study and where did you dance prior to joining Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company?
My first serious teacher was an incredible woman named Jodie Greenwood, who I was with for the entire beginning of my journey, right up until I was 17. She really believed in me and showed me that dance as a profession was an actual possibility. When I was 17 I began full-time training at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School in Melbourne. While I was there I understood that contemporary dance was where I was going and once I graduated I moved to the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington for 3 years as a Contemporary Major.
What attracted you to the movement language of Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and that of Artistic Director Rami Be’er’s work?
When I first saw the company I remember being affected by the union of form and ferocity within the dancers, a balance between animalistic and cultivated. As a dancer I was immediately inspired. I like that Rami is a choreographer who treasures individuality rather than trying to blur it out. I think this is something striking about our company, that we are all so different from one another, in as many ways. Visually, physically, energetically, culturally. Our differences inform the work that we do and Rami harnesses this to his advantage. He truly views diversity as strength and I am very grateful for this.
What is it like living among professional dancers, international dance students, and dance professionals at The International Dance Village in Kibbutz Ga’aton, Israel?
It is completely unique, even after being here for over three years I sometimes still find myself unexpectedly surprised at how atypical our lifestyles are. Because the Kibbutz is so isolated there are no distractions, without distractions our lives are very focussed, because we are so focussed everything becomes magnified. It’s always interesting to me how in such a condensed place, everything can be so fluctual. I suppose it’s the nature of art and especially dance that our greatest fear is the absence of change. It is this fear as well as our passion that rouses us to work so hard every day and the Kibbutz is perhaps a near-perfect place to do that. The studios are never locked, we have dancers from all over the world concentrated together, sharing together, if you want it dance is always available to you here.
Can you share with us how/what you feel dancing with the company on stage?
It always feels like a family. We listen to each other, with or without words and support, encourage and amplify each other. My favourite feeling as a dancer is when I surprise myself and when we are performing that sometimes involves surprising your fellow dancers. I love the unexpected jolts that come within the shows.
What’s your most memorable international experience with the company?
Maybe my first performance with the company. It was in Panama City in a very, very big thereat for the Prisma Festival.
How’s your experience been teaching dance students from across the world at the company’s 5-month Dance Journey Program
I love teaching very much and it’s something I’m so grateful that I get to do here. I love meeting the students of the Dance Journey program and getting to know them, growing with them throughout their time. You end up with friends from all these places you could never have imagined.
As a dancer I think producing art in any form is like shining a light in a dark cave. It gives hope and power to others as well my self to go on. I feel that we’re in a crisis on a global scale and this fear and uncertainty is slowly devouring our normal lives. Why don’t we all shine some light together and stay strong to over come this situation?!
Come dance with us at our home at the International Dance Village in Kibbutz Ga’aton, Israel and take part in the: