Sderot Adama Dance Company

Sderot Adama Dance Company

Artistic Directors: Liat Dror & Nir Ben-Gal

Liat Dror and Nir Ben Gal are the co-founders and directors of “Sderot ADAMA” Dance Center, the creative choreographers and managers of “ADAMA Dance Company”, also run the bachelor’s degree in fine arts (BFA) course entitled “Choreography and Movement for Screen and Stage” at Sapir Academic College’s School of Audio and Visual Arts.

Liat and Nir embarked on their common journey at the KCDC (Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company) workshop in Kibbutz Ga’aton; they danced in the Jerusalem Dance Ensemble and studied at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. Their first original piece, “Two-Room Apartment”, was a breakthrough in the world of dance. They expressed a sincere, unique message using contemporary tools alongside strong local influences. They soon became renowned, both in Israel and worldwide. After winning first place at the international “Biennale” choreography competition in Paris, they were invited to countless international festivals and events.

A number of very positive reviews in leading international dance magazines paved their way to becoming ambassadors for Israeli contemporary dance. Their success opened doors in Europe and North America for many Israeli dance companies and heralded a new era in the artistic activity of contemporary dance companies in Israel.

“Two-Room Apartment” and consequent pieces were a turning point for a novel dance style that was created and established in Israel: a combination of movement, theater and contemporary dance that produces a unique Israeli blend. They brought the relationship between themselves and their surroundings to the stage. Their work influenced other dance couples and choreographers in the nineties. In the years that followed, “Two-Room Apartment” and their next piece, “Donkeys”, among other creations, became an inspiration to a new generation of independent creators for whom Liat and Nir were their role models.
Today, Dror and Ben Gal operate in the Gaza perimeter and in Sderot, where they established the Sderot Dance Center.

After airing “two-bedroom apartment” they created two other shows in a duet composition: donkeys (1988), the third dance (1990) in 1991 they created Rikud for the London Contemporary Dance Theater. Filmmaker Eytan Fox created the documentary “Donkeys” about the work of them both.
When they achieved the fullest of their artistic path as a pair of creative dancers, they began to create for the dance group they directed, and during the 1990s they produced:
In the Whirlwind of Desire (1991), Figs (1993), Inta Omri (1994), Sit and Get Up My Love (1996) Investigation (1996) The Dance of Nothing (1999) collaborating with Palestinian musicians. The show, which was performed in a large tent set up in the Suzanne Dalal Plaza, was successfully performed all over the world and in all the major dance festivals in Europe. It was a kind of life ritual of a tribe living in tent in the desert while baking cookies for guests. Dror and Ben-Gal were a refreshing news for Israeli dance. Over the years, they also began teaching and hosted movement and observation workshops, all while managing the dance group and working as choreographers.

Realizing that their success was not enough to allow them artistic freedom and that it was not feasible to develop their art in Tel Aviv at that time, they decided to open a new chapter in their artistic career by relocating to Mitzpe Ramon, a remote town in the Negev mountains. In 2000, they founded a new dance school called “ADAMA Dance Center”. After ten years of success in Israel and abroad, they felt the time was ripe to invest their time, energy, and talent in a different style of dance. In the heart of the Negev desert, they turned their artistic work into an everyday lifestyle. They believed that the art of dance cannot be isolated or separated from life and that they had to find ways to connect it to the wider community and to dance lovers; that real creation has to be disconnected from the competitive and hectic “rat-race”. The heart of the desert with its endless space, sun, and serenity was deemed the right place for renewal and for the desired connection and perfect balance between dance and healing.

In an old ceramics factory, they built a studio, a residence and a visitors’ center and founded their dance therapy school, a dance company, and a variety of workshops for dance, movement, reflection and contemplation. Over the years, they have brought thousands of professional dancers, dance students and dance enthusiasts from all over the country to this remote desert location for exciting festivals and a wide range of dance activities. 

At the beginning of 2016, Liat and Nir relocated the hub of their creative activities to the town of Sderot, in the western Negev, near the Palestinian Gaza Strip, and founded their newest dance center – Sderot ADAMA.

 

The Company

“All’arrabbiata – a silent heart in a noisy world”

All’arrabbiata means ‘angry salsa’ in Italian. “… Hot & spicy tomato with tangy onion salsa… The spiciness doesn’t dominate the overall flavor, but certainly makes itself felt…”

And so does the dance.

Each one of us is many things. Not always do we succeed in containing or connecting all the parts to engender a clear sense that all of them together form a whole. In this creation, we appeal to the heart, as a connective symbol which pours the life-energy into and out of it, allowing the energy first to become dirty and then clean, full and then empty. The connection between abstract movement and practical movement is created on top of the table in the kitchen, at the heart of our physical home, through which we become connected, dismantled, disappointed, believing, separated and hopeful.

Artistic directors: Liat Dror & Nir Ben-Gal

Choreography: Liat Dror

Music: Klangnomad – SILENTIUM by Arvo Pärt

Producing & Marketing: Eytan Pe’er

Photos: Amalya Ben-Gal

 

“Savages”
Choreography: Liat Dror & Nir Ben Gal
Soundtrack: Yonatan Magon
Dancers: Ariel Holin, Dikla Ryzewski, Gilad Goral, Tal Raviv

My closeness with my mother was always about fabrics. I do not remember anything else.
The first feeling of partnership between me and Mother was related to the fabrics. The essence of femininity that had never been spoken was covered with pieces of cloth. One day in the tiny kitchen, on the Formica table lay a cauldron of boiling water with a tin box in it. It was a ceremony for my mother, I became a teen. Initiation. With a dull knife, Mother opened the lid of the tin box. On the Formica table were three pieces of neatly folded white cloth. Mother stirred the red-yellow liquid with the knife, slowly melting to the desired softness, wrapping around the knife, ordering me to put a foot on the chair and lift the sleeve of the trouser leg, and so without warning I felt the hot sticky liquid spread along my legs. Mother, took a piece of cloth and stretched it on the front of my leg, make sure there are no air pockets, she said as she ran her hands intently over the cloth, and … the sharp pain pierced, Mother showed me the wax-soaked cloth, everything was off, there was no hair left on my leg, she said proudly.

“Savages” is a choreographic work that searches for circular motion, that does not hold on to anything. Our pain is private, it closes us and on us, the circular movement, allows us to let go at any given moment. We have no way to reach compassion without letting go.
Sometimes we cling, we do not let go, we rush to the finishing line, does it exist?
Does it really allow us to grow without pain, is pain necessary? Fur us as human beings and humanity as a whole. On the line of the circle we can have both forward and regressive movements, both of which can exist in full, side by side. Like the sunrise in the morning and sunset in the evening.
The same movement that creates growth that is deep and quiet; its strength does not harm me or others. Cyclic movement. Breathing movement. A comforting movement.

In the Savages dance, the preoccupation with the hair as a metaphor for the wildness of freedom, as opposed to submission to the dictates of fashion or social-cultural pressure, the plucking of hair as an act of painful and unpleasant aesthetics accompanied by a sense of natural disgust, when and why we remove underarms hair and shave our legs. And how does this relate to our culture, our religion, and the social environment in which we live?
Do we have a choice?
The symbolic meaning of hair as a source of strength and abundance, especially for men who are struggling with their lives with fear of baldness and hair loss. In this context, I felt that “baldness” was more interesting than “hair”. I imagined Samson the hero (who is also described as carrying the gates of Gaza on his shoulders – that is, he has a direct connection to the place where we work at) – that when he lost his hair, he also lost his strength and vitality.
Samson is described in the Bible as a “man of valor” – and I thought of all those 18-year-olds who, when they enlisted in the IDF, shave off their hair – does it make the stronger?
Or do they loose strength?

The sound track was created by Jonathan Magon and it brings together the Western rhythm to the infinite, desert, of the East, allows to create root’s stability against the infinite movement of the branch in the wind, the same wind that can be embodied as a hurricane, shattering and uprooting or as a cool wind heralding the end of a heat wave, the same wind between destruction and relief, so is the human spirit, so is the human movement.

“Savages” was created in the new group home studio in Sderot, near the Gaza Strip.
Without a doubt, this is a wounded, painful, sad area that longs for compassion, not the obvious place for growing an art center. The choice of a Persian song, as the choice to instill a new center in Sderot, stems from a deep conviction that we must reach the spot of pain in order for a change to begin without being threatened, without recoil and accept that tear that flows from the eye to the ground and to lead us to full strength union movement.

Ariel Holin,
During my childhood in the kibbutz, I dealt a lot with music and sports – long distance running and swimming. At the age of 18 I discovered Capoeira and opened up a new world of movement, rhythm, music, acrobatics and acting.
After my discharge from the IDF, I applied to study mathematics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
During those years I trained and trained Capoeira, trained in a gymnastics team, swam in the university swimming team, and taught math in high school and colleges.
Today I live in Gaza village, dancing with the group, practicing capoeira and teaching mathematics and Contact classes for parents and children.

Dikla Rizbeski,
I danced at the Jordan Valley Dance Studio. I studied for two years in Vertigo’s dance training course under the artistic direction of Baba Zack. I studied for two years in a dance training course under the artistic direction of Naomi Perlov and Ophir Dagan.
I worked in London with choreographer Sarah Chippertry. I worked with the artist Sigal Amroza. I joined Adama in January 2017.

Gilad Goral,
This is my second season dancing with Adama. Three years exprience in Yoram Carmi’s Fresco Dance Company and before that I studied in a dance training course under the artistic direction of Naomi Perlov and Ophir Dagan. I went to live in Sderot, along with my main work in the group, I participated in theater and dance projects by Ofir Nahari, Arie Eldar, Roni Rotem, Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Leor. For four years I have been engaged in artistic collaboration with the artist Eitan Dor Shav, and together we are studying a combination of dance and painting.

Tal Raviv,
I grew up in the community of Kalil in the north. I graduated from the dance mabor and the excellence dance group at Kibbutz Gaaton studio. I served in the “Culture Movement” and enlisted in the Nahal Brigade, where I instructed various dance groups of youth in the periphery, and I danced at the Vertigo workshop for dancers and in the workshop of Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak. I worked with various choreographers, including Michael Miller, Donald Byrd (The Israeli Opera) and Tamar Lerner.

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