Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Rami Be’er’s “InfraRed”

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Video: KCDC in Rami Be’er’s Infrared

Another guest at International Exposure 2009, Talia Baruch, covers the San Francisco-area dance scene for her blog GoSee– Dance. She wrote some reviews of dances she saw here in Israel in December for her website and is generously sharing them here on Dance In Israel.

Talia’s first guest article is about Rami Be’er’s InfraRed, which was mentioned in my last post about the festival.  Read on to learn more about this work, Be’er, and the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company.

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International Exposure 2009—Suzanne Dellal Dance Center | KCDC

By Talia Baruch


Choreography, Stage Design, Lighting Design: Rami Be’er | Costume Design: Maor Tzabar | Sound Design: Alex Claude | Still photography: Gadi Dagon | Review & Copywriting: Talia Baruch

A black garden is revealed.
An invisible world is unveiled through infrared light spectrum.
Black bodies expose colors.


Lyrics and music: Rami Be’er
Translated from Hebrew: Talia Baruch

In the black garden
Red soldier—watch
Blue soldier—warn
Yellow soldier—shoot all
(Back to. The wall.)

In the black garden
Red soldier—respond
Blue soldier—drop
Yellow soldier—yell
(Get used to hell)

In the black garden
Red soldier—reply
Blue soldier—hush
Yellow soldier—weep
(In the shit. Deep)

In the black garden
Red soldier—gape
Blue soldier—loll
Yellow soldier—hallucinate
(Feel the pain, mate?)

In the black garden…
A soldier stares
A soldier strays
A soldier errs

Rami Be’er’s InfraRed. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

A deep voice delivers the weight of “In the Black Garden” to the taps of a black platoon.  They open the show and they’ll also close it, but not just yet.   We’re still in for a journey, exploring the tumbles of our human condition, sinking deep into its weaknesses, aspiring to new heights through time and space.

Music is at the forefront of Be’er’s dance compositions.  He writes the lyrics & tunes, mixes the electronic sound effects and plays the cello pieces. The opening scene carries you over to another planet, both locally familiar and exotically estranged.  A wind storm echoes. Soft oasis waves flutter, lulling you into the Sahara mood, a blazing desert sweeping in like a yellow sea.

The drama sets off with bodies, humans and creatures, pacing through.  I quake in my seat, feeling a sudden urge to stretch right out of my spine, when the four-legged creature enters.  You know she’s coming out when you hear the slow somber score greeting her cue, like in Peter & the Wolf.  Her long black hair glides down to the floor, heavy, with every stretch of muscle elongating her back and limbs, like a preying tiger, graceful and ready to pounce.  Her movement is from another dimension, arching, curving, hands turned backward, magnetized to the floor.  She shifts back and forth, stretching like sticky gum out of its glued grip.

Rami Be’er’s InfraRed. Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Another twitching image is the cocoon, tightly swaddled: legs breaking out of colored paper wrap, muffling.
Soundtrack creaks:
-..I can’t dance it anymore
’cause my feet don’t touch the floor…-

The framework image for this dance is a board game.  And on it players make their moves.  They represent the three core colors: red, blue and yellow. Then there’s black, absorbing all colors, and white, their void.

Be’er was inspired by Sergeant Pepper’s album cover and commissioned the costume to reflect that 19th-century-European-soldier-uniform look, with the long flap buttoned apparel, set in the three foundation colors.  Like players on a check board, the dancers move through space in forward/backward horizontal/vertical taps, at times restrained within the confinements of red, blue and yellow squares laid out on the platform.

About KCDC–Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company

KCDC was founded in 1970 by Yehudit Arnon, who directed it through 1996, as an extension of the Ga’aton Repertoire Dance group.  Today the company’s work is identified by the compositions of its Artistic Director—Rami Be’er, who also runs KCDC 2, the young company.

KCDC simultaneously holds 5-6 different dance productions and tours globally.

About Rami Be’er

Rami Be’er was born and raised on Kibbutz Ga’aton in the Western Galilee, northern Israel.  Music and art were his bread and butter growing up. His father played violin, his sisters played viola and violin and Rami picked up cello.  After completing his mandatory military service, he found himself at a junction: Should he follow a promising music career or pursue a newly explored path in dance?

Motivated by his life-long mentor and teacher, Yehudit Arnon, Be’er voted for the latter, reasoning that composing dance integrated most other stage art forms: music, design and lighting.  Rami’s drawing and sculpting background is manifested in the stage and costume design, his passion for music is unleashed in the way he pieces together the soundtrack, and his aesthetic vision is carefully crafted into the lighting design.

“I concoct a total experience of music, text, visual and movement,” says Rami, “taking in my impressions of the bounty all around.” “Dance is a way of life for me. I believe that any art form touches on our human condition and arouses existential explorations. I invite the audience to a journey. I provide the tip of the rope, and leave a wide range for individual interpretation and connotation.”

When asked what are his sources of inspiration, Rami replies that it can be a song he hears, a curious object, the angle in which a sun ray falls on a leaf, pregnant with rain due.

Be’er’s parents, Holocaust survivals, were members, along with Yehudit Arnon, in the commune that founded Kibbutz Ga’aton. Rami joined KCDC in 1980 as a dancer and house choreographer and rapidly made his mark.  He has since created over 40 full-piece productions for the company, leaving his signature footprint along the way.  Be’er produces at a pace of 1-2 full soirée shows a year, turning the corner for KCDC, now a globally renowned dance company.

About International Dance Village

Far away, on the other side of the rainbow, there is a little village, an International Dance Village, where dance students from around the world congregate to create.  When I came to visit, there were people dancing on dirt foot paths, behind glass doors, across lawns.  This is a unique program, initiated by Rami Be’er in 2008 on Kibbutz Ga’aton, where KCDC breaths and works.

“The extensive Ga’aton and neighboring community are engaged in this initiative, funded by Raaya Strauss.  The kibbutz communal dining hall, named “Beit Raaya,” was converted into 2 spacious dance studios, flushed with morning sun light, where KCDC rehearses daily.  There are 6 additional studios on site, with a little “home made” café where dancers and community members hang out and chill.  Once a month, on a Saturday, a collaboration between KCDC, Keshet Eylong and Teva Yechiam hostel offers a unique weekend get-away package of dance, music and pampering in the pea-green Kibbutz setting.

“There is a pyramid at the heart of kibbutz Ga’aton,” says Rami Be’er. At the top there lies the performing KCDC, then there’s KCDC 2 and Masa (“Journey” in Hebrew). The surrounding community consists of the supporting foundation of this structure. Masa is a dance immersion program that brings dance students from across the globe for a period of 5 months on the kibbutz. There is no other program like it in the world.

The literal meaning of kibbutz is a collective gathering, but there is also a double meaning in the term Kibbutz galuyot, which means an international collective gathering.  And that is what the International Dance Village is all about: a little colony of people nurturing one another, living, expressing and creating ensemble.

Talia Baruch is a writer and translator covering the dance/theater scene in San Francisco, where she has been living for the past 11 years. She is the founder of Copyous, providing creative copywriting and Localization Strategies. The ingredients that shaped her life are the explosive dance scene in urban Tel Aviv, where she grew up, the pea-green English country side, where she inhaled a handsome amount of fresh-manure & horseback-countered through endless woods, and the 24/7 Localization/Internationalization business bustle, that put perspective to it all.

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