Shalom Life | August 29, 2014

American Dancer Finds Her Place on Israeli Stage

Florida Native Kicks Up Her Heels in Jewish State

By: Josh Berkman

Published: January 12th, 2012 in Culture » Stage » News

American Dancer Finds Her Place on Israeli Stage

As a performer for two years with the world-renowned Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Brittany Adams has danced at some of the world’s most famous venues. But she never truly felt at home on the stage until she performed in Israel.

Adams enrolled in a workshop with Tel Aviv’s Batsheva Dance Company following her final touring season with Ailey. She was so moved by the experience that she realized dancing would never be the same unless she made Aliyah and immersed herself in the study of Israel’s new contemporary gaga form, developed by Batsheva’s Ohad Naharim—one of the world’s leading modern choreographers.

But Brittany’s story is not merely about finding a new dance form as much as it is discovering her Jewish soul through gaga, an Israeli form of improvisational art that emphasizes undivided attentiveness to all five senses and incorporating the heightened sensory awareness into physical and artistic expression.

Gaga is a style that constantly moves and builds as the dancer explores how the senses influence movement,” Brittany says. “It is more elevated and doesn’t feel like work.”

In recent months, there have been several examples of well-known Jewish athletes making Aliyah as well as the growing trend of high-tech entrepreneurs finding a path to their dreams in Israel. In these athletes’ cases, there is the opportunity to play at an elite professional level; in the entrepreneurs’ case, Israel is Start-Up Nation. And in Brittany’s case, there is the opportunity to explore a new form of art that she says feels like it was ‘created for her.’ But in each example, it seems, there is a deeper pull.

Why didn’t Jon Scheyer choose to play basketball in Spain?

Why aren’t Jewish tech whizzes flocking to India or Singapore?

Could an improvisational and deeply soulful form of modern dance have developed elsewhere with such a visceral appeal to a world-class dancer in the beginning stages of connecting with her Jewish heritage?

“When young Jews travel to Israel, whether it’s for a Masa trip or internship, a professional dance workshop, or to play basketball, a spark is almost always lit,” says Barry Spielman, the Jewish Agency’s director of communications for North America. “These sparks not only establish the foundation of Aliyah by choice, but they create connections that reach the many Jewish friends, family members, business associates and even fans of these young Jews—we’re talking about a ripple effect that is critical in sustaining a vibrant and global Jewish future.”

Brittany, who made Aliyah on a group flight from Newark earlier this month, has family in Israel. An uncle was chancellor of Bar Ilan University and she has numerous cousins on Kibbutz Ketura. But she did not grow up immersed in Jewish life. She is bi-racial and says she always felt self conscious in Jewish settings. Nevertheless she remained curious and read many of the Jewish books her mother kept in the house.

“I was always interested in this side of me,” Brittany says.

Brittany began to participate in the Jewish community of South Florida after her grandmother passed away and her mother took she and her sister to a Purim celebration at the Chabad House of West Palm Beach. Following that experience, Brittany began to celebrate Shabbat with Chabad and babysit the Rabbi’s children. Two summers ago, she visited Israel for the first time to see family and the idea of attending Naharim’s gaga workshop the following year became real.

In Israel, Brittany plans to participate in another gaga workshop with Naharim and formally audition for Batsheva in March. She describes her style as a “harmonious paradox of power and ease” and will audition for spots in other Israeli companies if things do not work out with Batasheva.

“I decided (after the workshop) that Israel was a place where I needed to live and dance,” Brittany says. “I’ve danced around the world, but Tel Aviv was a whole different experience of being connected—it was dancing on a different level.”

http://www.jafi.org.il/JewishAgency/images/pix.gif
This article has been re-posted with permission from http://www.jafi.org.il
Joan Rivers Stopped Breathing, Rushed to Hospital During Surgery Joan Rivers Stopped Breathing, Rushed to Hospital During Surgery TrendingShia LaBeouf Calls Police On Crazed, Stalking Fan Shia LaBeouf Calls Police On Crazed, Stalking Fan TrendingChelsea Handler Says Her Final Goodbyes On 'Chelsea Lately' Chelsea Handler Says Her Final Goodbyes On 'Chelsea Lately' Trending
 

Al-Qaeda Presents: Terrorism 101, A Guide on Making Bombs and Choosing Targets

August 29, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Al-Qaeda Presents: Terrorism 101, A Guide on Making Bombs and Choosing Targets

The terrorist organization has released a detailed booklet on how to make pressure cooker bombs, and which U.S., U.K., and Israeli targets should be attacked

Read More

Putin Compares Ukrainian Army to the Nazis

August 29, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Putin Compares Ukrainian Army to the Nazis

The Russian President condemned Ukrainian troops firing at civilians in eastern Ukraine who he said are "suppressed with force"

Read More

Israel Concerned as Rebels Linked to al-Qaeda Seize Control of Syrian Side of Border

August 29, 2014 | By Attila Somfalvi, Roi Kais and Yoav Zitun
Israel Concerned as Rebels Linked to al-Qaeda Seize Control of Syrian Side of Border

Netanyahu: "An extension of al-Qaeda in the Golan Heights has kidnapped dozens of UN forces. We must take a joint position in order to defeat them."

Read More

IDF Soldier Wounded in Rocket Attack Dies, Raises Israeli Death Toll to 71

August 29, 2014 | By ShalomLife Team
IDF Soldier Wounded in Rocket Attack Dies, Raises Israeli Death Toll to 71

22-year-old Netanel Maman, who was hit by shrapnel in a rocket attack last week, has succumbed to his injuries

Read More

Top 10 Things for Art Lovers to do in Israel

August 29, 2014 | By Viva Sarah Press
Top 10 Things for Art Lovers to do in Israel

Whether you prefer museums and galleries, crafts shows or painting the sights yourself, Israel offers a range of old and new art-related experiences

Read More

Startup Club: Yevvo

August 28, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
Startup Club: Yevvo

The Israel-based startup has found a way to successfully merge livestreaming with social media

Read More

London Imam Anjem Choudary: Sharia Law is Coming to a Place Near You [VIDEO]

August 28, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
London Imam Anjem Choudary: Sharia Law is Coming to a Place Near You [VIDEO]

In a hostile interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Choudary says the world will soon "be liberated from the shackles of man-made law"

Read More

Arsenio Hall Compares Mac Miller to Maya Angelou [VIDEO]

August 28, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Arsenio Hall Compares Mac Miller to Maya Angelou [VIDEO]

The late night talk show host tells the Pittsburgh rapper that he's similar to Angelou, minus the breasts.

Read More

More Headlines