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The Holocaust in Modern Dance: Rami Be’er on “Aide Memoire”

Posted on 04 June 2009 by Deborah Friedes Galili

Aide MemoireKibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Rami Be’er’s Aide Memoire.  Photo by Gadi Dagon.

Suzanne Dellal’s Big Stage festival will close on Saturday, June 6th with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s performance of Rami Be’er’s Aide Memoire (Hebrew title: Zichron Dvarim).   I was struck by the dance’s power when I first saw it last year – but rather than telling you my perspective in this post, I’m going to bring you a different viewpoint: that of the choreographer himself.

Below is a guest post by Rami Be’er, choreographer and artistic director of the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company.

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The Holocaust in Modern Dance (guest post by Rami Be’er)

As a son of Holocaust survivors, I tried to deal with the horrors of the Holocaust, but it took me years until I felt mature enough to do so.  My parents filled the house with art and music, raised us in an Israeli Kibbutz, started a new life and never mentioned the past.  Same as with me, it took decades until they started to speak.

When I felt ready to deal with the horrors of the Holocaust, I created the piece Aide Memoire.

In Aide Memoire, I tried to illustrate the feeling of being “trapped.”  The dancers move ecstatically, trapped in their personal turmoil, spinning while swinging their arms and legs, and banging on the wall; some are crucified, unable to move freely on the stage.

Aide Memoire is not only about the Holocaust.  It deals with matters relating to present life and reality.  It deals with violence, wars, and their impact on our lives.  I created this dance in order to scream: Stop the violence!  Stop the holocausts! Continue Reading

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Visions of Dancing in Israel

Posted on 27 October 2008 by Deborah Friedes Galili


An ad for the exhibit’s September 18th opening from the Israeli Consulate

It’s not only Israeli dance groups that perform in Israel.  With enthusiastic Israeli audiences at the ready, companies from around the world have made Israel a destination on their tours.  In a single month, the International Tel Aviv Dance Festival (Tel Aviv Dance 2008) will feature groups from Spain, Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Slovenia, the U.K., the Netherlands, the Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Madagascar, and the United States.  Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet received a warm welcome this weekend when they opened the festival with works by Joe Stromgren, Crystal Pite, and Israel’s own Ohad Naharin; the dancers are now touring through the rest of the country.

Cedar Lake is not the only American dance company with strong ties to Israel and Israeli dance.  Based in Connecticut, Pilobolus commissioned Israeli choreographers Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak to create Rushes in 2007, and the company also performed in Israel last year. While on tour, Robert Whitman took a series of stunning photographs featuring Pilobolus’s trademark sculptural physicality against the backdrop of Israel’s natural treasures, ancient sites, and modern urban delights. These images are on display in New York City’s Chelsea Market (75 9th Avenue, between 15th and 16th Streets) from September 18 until October 31, 2008. I went to the opening event and wrote the post below for The Winger. Read on, and if you’re in New York City, rush over to Chelsea Market before the photographs come down!

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