Shalom Life | March 01, 2015

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
Madonna’s Israeli Hacker Has Been Indicted Madonna’s Israeli Hacker Has Been Indicted Trending'Clueless' Soundtrack to be Released as Yellow and Black Plaid Vinyl 'Clueless' Soundtrack to be Released as Yellow and Black Plaid Vinyl TrendingJustin Bieber Begs Seth Rogen to Roast Him Justin Bieber Begs Seth Rogen to Roast Him Trending
 

Rest in Peace, Mr. Spock. You Will Be Dearly Missed

February 27, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Rest in Peace, Mr. Spock. You Will Be Dearly Missed

Leonard Nimoy, actor, director, writer, musician, painter, and pop culture icon, dies at 83

Read More

Madonna’s Israeli Hacker Has Been Indicted

February 27, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Madonna’s Israeli Hacker Has Been Indicted

Adi Lederman has been officially charged on four counts including computer trespassing.

Read More

'Clueless' Soundtrack to be Released as Yellow and Black Plaid Vinyl

February 27, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
'Clueless' Soundtrack to be Released as Yellow and Black Plaid Vinyl

The seminal 90's soundtrack is being re-released for the film's 20th anniversary

Read More

Justin Bieber Begs Seth Rogen to Roast Him

February 27, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Justin Bieber Begs Seth Rogen to Roast Him

The pop singer reaches out to Rogen via Twitter in hopes he'll appear on his upcoming Comedy Central special.

Read More

Israeli Doctor Resorts to Crowdfunding to Treat Three-Year-Old Girl's Disease

February 27, 2015 | By NoCamels Team
Israeli Doctor Resorts to Crowdfunding to Treat Three-Year-Old Girl's Disease

Due to high expenses, Dr. Shomron sought to raise necessary funds for his patient from individual donors over the Internet

Read More

Madonna: Europe Feels like "Nazi Germany"

February 27, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Madonna: Europe Feels like "Nazi Germany"

"anti-Semitism is at an all time high" says the acclaimed singer/songwriter

Read More

Israeli Teen Wins First Round of European Chess Championship

February 27, 2015 | By Roi Yanovsky
Israeli Teen Wins First Round of European Chess Championship

17-year-old Itay Westreich beats current Israeli champion Victor Mikhalevski in first round of championship in Jerusalem

Read More

Organizers Halt Tel Aviv Marathon Due to Heat

February 27, 2015 | By Shahar Hay
Organizers Halt Tel Aviv Marathon Due to Heat

Two men participating in annual run lose consciousness due to heat stroke, both under sedation and ventilated; 75 others treated on scene; major streets closed off in Tel Aviv

Read More

More Headlines