One of the world’s most original and innovative forces in modern dance, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, make their Sydney debut with the world premiere of a blistering new work, Horses in the Sky, in the Drama Theatre – Sydney Opera House from 31 August 2016.
In 1973, the year the Sydney Opera House opened, Yehudit Arnon founded a dance company renowned for its daring, spirit and intensity. Arnon’s motivation for founding the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company could not have been more visceral. At Auschwitz, she had been punished by Nazi soldiers for refusing to dance for them at Christmas. Surviving the camp, she dedicated her life to dance.
Four decades on, the late Holocaust survivor’s company is now in the hands of dynamic artistic director Rami Be’er, who was born at Kibbutz Ga’aton in northern Israel, the company’s home. Renowned for his work with leading dance companies across the world, Be’er took the reins of the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in 1996.
Horses in the Sky delivers a distinctive style of dance with gritty, exuberant and raw movements creating fast-flowing visions of unusual beauty, in a work that Be’er describes as “bringing together dreams and a sense of impending apocalypse”.
Featuring 16 exceptional dancers Horses in the Sky is accompanied by a driving, eclectic soundtrack that includes Björk, Olafur Arnalds and Tim Hecker, creating a darkly immersive, often ecstatic experience. It showcases Be’er’s choreography and staging, lighting and costume design, in addition to his sound editing, creating an intensity of vision that parallels the audience experience.
“We are thrilled to be bringing Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company to Australia for the first time in 23 years for the Australian premiere of Horses in the Sky,” said Timothy Calnin, Head of Performing Arts, Sydney Opera House. “It’s an unmissable work where cutting-edge contemporary dance and music collide.”
“This limited season of Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company follows successful Sydney Opera House contemporary dance presentations of Sylvie Guillem: Life In Progress (2015), Nederlands Dans Theatre (2013), Mark Morris Dance Group (2015) and Sun (2014) from fellow Israeli, Hofesh Shechter.
Led by choreographer Rami Be’er, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC), is one of Israel’s foremost modern dance companies. Founded on a kibbutz by Yehudit Arnon, an Auschwitz survivor who established the company in 1973 and developed a Dance Village which continues as the company’s home base. Artistic Director Rami Be’er, who was born in Kibbutz Ga’aton, has led the company since 1996.
Rami Be’er was born to a family of musicians in Kibbutz Ga’aton, Israel. He began playing the cello at an early age and later undertook dance studies with Yehudit Arnon. Be’er joined KCDC as a dancer and choreographer in 1980 and took over the company’s artistic direction in 1996. Since then, he has choreographed more than 50 works for the company and has credited both the company and himself with an impressive list of original creations, as well as popular children’s works.
His creations have become internationally acclaimed and Be’er has been commissioned by numerous international companies and awarded prizes both in Israel and abroad. Amongst the companies for which Be’er has created original works are Gratz Opera Ballet (Austria), Batsheva Dance Company (Israel), Hungarian National Ballet, New Danish Dance Theatre (Denmark), Staatsballett Berlin (Germany), Croatian National Ballet Theatre, Reykjavik National Ballet (Iceland), Tanzcompagnie Oldenburg (Germany), Ballett Basel (Switzerland), Poznan Opera House Ballet (Poland), National Theatre Ballet Brno (Czech Republic) and more.
Be’er designs the sets, the lighting and at times the costumes for his works, creating unity across all aspects of the performance, inviting viewers to participate in a journey through which they can connect to themselves. Through his work, Be’er offers an reflections of the world, but audiences remain free to accord it their own interpretation and meaning through their personal experience.
“… The committed performance of the cast and the purity of the choreography will win you over.”– The New York Times
Horses in the Sky
Drama Theatre – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point (Sydney)
Season: 31 August – 3 September 2016
Information and Bookings: www.sydneyoperahouse.com
Image: Horses in the Sky by Rami Be’er – photo by Eyal Hirsch