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Cross-Cultural Connection: Israel’s Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company comes to Dallas

by Danielle Georgiou 28 Feb 2014 11:27 AM

Charles Santos of TITAS tells guest blogger Danielle Gergiou what to expect from this weekend’s performances and audtion.


Photo by Uri Nevo, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

Photo by Uri Nevo, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

TITAS moves into spring with what promises to be an exciting performance from one of Israel’s most prominent dance groups, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC). Bringing their raw energy, cultural themes, and innovative movement language, KCDC will take over the Dallas City Performance Hall for two performance on Saturday, March 1, at 2:00 and 8:00pm–which is sold out, so get your tickets for the 2:00pm show now!

As the beginning of spring is a hectic time for the dance world, and the performance world in general, Charles Santos, Executive Director of TITAS, and I discussed the upcoming performance of Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company through emailed correspondence.

Danielle Georgiou: Where did you first see the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, and what attracted you to them?

Charles Santos: I was invited by the Israeli Consulate to fly to Tel Aviv December 2012 to see their Dance Exposure…a festival featuring 35 varied Israeli dance artists. [I saw] 35 performances in 5 days. It was very intense and absolutely great. In the group of artists, some were great, some were not, some were too small for our venues, and Kibbutz was among the group of companies that I really loved…

Kibbutz’s performance was clean, well crafted with clear focus, had well trained dancers, and excellent lighting concepts.  The works I saw were well put together and well edited.  So often I see good work on companies, but there’s no editing and the piece loses focus.  [KCDC’s] works were much more focused.  I found the work passionate, restrained but with real moments of brilliance and abandoned raw movement that really appealed to me.

They use their technique as opposed to showing you their technique. That’s something, for me, that really speaks to the focus on artistry as opposed to impressing an audience with “tricks.”  I love the sensual, raw energy this company has in its choreography and performances. I also love that this company is based and the dancers live primarily in a Kibbutz.  It brings a great sense of cultural identity that is uniquely theirs.  I think our Dallas audiences will be very interested in their art and their culture.

DG: How you would you describe their style?

CS: For me, I don’t want to place them in the “defined” categories of dance, but this is a modern dance company with very well trained dancers that perform with a refined abandon that draws the audience into their work.  These are mature performers and great dancers.  For me, though I marvel at the dancers, I find myself focused on the work, and that’s says a lot about the quality of the choreography. [Artist Director Rami Be’er] uses the whole body with abandon but always keeps a refined choreographic esthetic that focuses the intent of the work.

Courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

Courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

DG: What can we expect from their show at the City Performance Hall?

CS: I think the audience is going to be very impressed by the quality of the work and the stunning dancers.  I think the audience is go to love the passion and raw energy of the work and how well these particular dancers look in this work.  They are “open” performers, exposed.  You can’t help but feel a little voyeuristic, and that’s always great.  I think the audience is going to be very impressed at the quality of artists coming from Israel.  They are going to want to see more, and they will.  Also, we are excited to be presenting companies in CPH [the City Performance Hall].  Both TITAS and the Center are thrilled to be working in this great new venue.  I think it’s a great space for experiencing dance.

DG: This type of partnership, with an international company, a local public school and  TITAS, opens a lot of doors for local dancers and increases the cultural landscape of Dallas. Do you hope that more programs/auditions/performance like this one will occur in the future?

CS: These partnerships interest me more than anything else these days.  Both TITAS PRESENTS and the Center are committed to cultural collaborations within our community, as well as developing collaborations on a national and international scale.  After my trip to Israel, I have continued to communicate with the Israeli Embassy about helping them work with the Israeli companies to deal with the realities of touring in America.  The costs, the audiences, visas, the tax situations, etc.  We are working diligently to establish TITAS and the Center as catalysts for creative projects, creative thinking.  TITAS already has an established commitment and history to commission and creating new works for companies.  With the Center as a partner, we are able to really expand that vision by bringing the Center’s facilities into the mix.  I think, very soon, our arts district, and especially TITAS and the Center, is going to be well known internationally for bold, forward-thinking initiatives and projects.  As an environment that is fertile for exciting creative projects and new opportunities for artists.  This doesn’t happen overnight, but I see the work happening, and I’m just happy to be a part of it.

Photo by Uri Nevo, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

Photo by Uri Nevo, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

DG: Kibbutz will also be hosting an audition at Booker T. for their Dance Journey Program. Why was Booker T. selected to host this audition, and who can attend?

CS: Booker T. has some of the best studios in the country for dance.  Whether it’s an American or international company we bring to Dallas, they are always amazed at the quality of the Center’s theater and of the facilities at Arts Magnet. Also, TITAS PRESENTS and the AT&T Performing Arts Center both have long standing relationships with the school. The audition will be open to the public…and is for dancers who are ready to study in Israel. I encourage all interested dancers to consider auditioning. They have an amazing facility and program in Israel.

Dancers can register and reserve an audition spot at www.kcdc.co.il/en/auditionregistration. The audition is on Saturday, March 1 from 10:00am-1:00pm.

Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company will have two performance at the Dallas City Performance Hall on Saturday, March 1, at 2:00 and 8:00pm.