By Andy Teirstein
On March 13th, we gathered a distinguished group of artists from varied backgrounds at the Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theater. Each artist was asked in advance to consider ways that their artistic practice is inspired by, or in dialogue with a particular cultural tradition. They were also asked to prepare a short personal expression—a simple song learned as a child, or a folk dance—emanating from their own communal cultural roots. Although we didn’t have time to explore these responses, they gave the artists a sense of the project’s impetus. We hope to follow up on a deeper level when we return.
PARTICIPATING ARTISTS MARCH 12TH
Iris Erez, Leia Weil, Ian Robinson, Stephanie Troyak, Yasmeen Godder, Adi Boutrous, Idan Toledano, Miriam Toukan, Amal Murkus, Neta Elkayam, Amit Hai Cohen, Aharon and Liron Amram, Pam Pietro, Andy Teirstein
The evening was an entree to two planes of cultural encounter: The first was the encounter of various geo-cultural roots, and the second, the encounter of new dance and traditional music. We are grateful to each of the artists for their willingness to join us; some people travelled for several hours to be there. I’m sure every participant came away with a different sense of the experience. I can guess a few of them, the ones I also felt most strongly.
- There was an eagerness to share music, artist-to-artist. For some, it is hoped, new connections were established toward future collaboration.
- The juxtaposition of choreographers and culturally-rooted musicians presented a fertile area that was an intriguing artistic challenge. I believe this particular plane of encounter will be a key to our work in this region, opening up creative routes that are, as yet, unexplored.
- It was a tease: We had to stop just at the point when we could have gotten into the real essence of the experience (we hope to continue in December).
As we plan our next steps in this region, we are considering several key questions:
How can we facilitate the exploration of the continuum between artistic appropriation and inspiration (or: How does one create original work drawn from communal traditional practice)? What is the best platform for participating artists—A two-day residency, collaborative sessions between pairs of artists, etc?
What would we like to see as a result of this work, in two years? A concert, a festival?