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Karmiel 2009 by Cindy Berg PDF Print E-mail
Karmiel Summer Teachers dance Course- 2009. I had the privilege of attending the Summer Dance Course for Foreign Teachers and Dancers this year.The group consisted of 35 teachers/dancers from all parts of the world including Australia, America, Argentina, Germany, Finland, Italy, France, Latvia, Russia, Romania and Serbia. The age of the participants ranged from 20’s through to 70’s.   Participants were predominantly teachers but also there were a number of non-teacher/advanced dancers who attended.  It was very stimulating to meet teachers/dancers from all over the world. By the end of the course, we became a close group and strong friendships were formed.A typical day of the course consisted of 4 workshops, 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. Each workshop was presented by a different choreographer who would come and teach us approximately 4  of their dances ( usually 3 circle dances and 1 partner dance). Choreographers that we had the pleasure of learning from included: Avi Levy, Dudu Barzilai, Oren Ashkenazi, Eran Bitton, Victor Gabai, Se’adai Ami shai, Rafi Ziv, Shlomo Maman, Eyal Eliyahu, Marco Ben Shimon, Yaron Ben SimchonBy the end of the day, we would have learnt approximately 16 dances.  In the workshops, there would be no social dancing- we would learn the dances, one after the other.  It was a real pleasure to watch the different styles of teaching, dancing and personality that each choreographer brought to their own session.After the day program of learning dances, we would have a dinner break, followed by a night of social dancing. Each night we would be taken to different “harkadot” dance sessions around Israel.  Dance sessions would start about 8.30pm and go well into the early hours of the morning. The harkadot like in Australia, tended to start with low-intermediate dances and gradually build up to the more advanced dances.   There is usually a bracket of circle dances followed by partner dances which are alternated throughout the night.  In some sessions there is also a short bracket of line dances.  Many sessions played a bracket of “nostalgia” dances- old classic dances which are often quite simple, but very fast. I was surprised to see how popular these “nostalgia” dances were with both the young and the old rushing to the floor as soon as they were played.The harkadot varied in numbers, but in general are much larger than Australian numbers, with the smaller sessions being about 300-400  in number and the larger sessions ( eg Gadi Bitton’s session at Tel Aviv uni ) having around 900 dancers.The  markidim are  the dance leaders/teachers of the harkada. Depending on the session, you may rarely see the markid dance at all!  S/he may be primarily organising the music play list for the night, announcing the dances, and coming on the dance floor to teach a dance, and maybe dancing 1 or 2 others. In some ways , his/her role is quite similar to a DJ.   In other sessions, the markid will be more involved and will be much more on the dance floor.  So I have now described to you a typical day of the workshop-during the day  meet 4 choreographers , learn around 16 dances, and then at night dance till  2 am or so!During the course we participated in a number of special activities ( eg: a day tour to Jerusalem, tarbkuka drumming session).  One of the highlights was attending the Hishtalmut. The hishtalmut is a meeting which is held 2-3 times per year, where the Israeli dance choreographers introduce their new dances. It is a workshop where only choreographers and Israeli dance teachers are able to attend.   We, the summer course group were fortunate to be invited to attend.  It was very special to learn in the same circle, alongside the choreographers/Israeli markidim, as the choreographers showcased their new dances.At the end of the 7 day teaching  workshop, we attended the 3 day Karmiel dance festival. The Karmiel dance festival is an annual event which has been running for the last 21 years.  It is a 3 day festival celebrating all different styles of dance.  The festival is run in Karmiel, a town in the north of Israel.  Dance troupes from all over Israel ( folk, ballet, flamenco, jazz etc) demonstrate their dance styles and run various workshops. Each night in the amphitheatre in the open air, around 30,000 people gather to watch the most magnificent performances encompassing around 2,000 dancers on stage. These night shows start at 9.30pmand run till midnight.After the shows at midnight, is when the Israeli folk dance sessions begin  and run to 6am.  That’s right, you can dance all night  until the sun breaks in the morning. It is very hard to give you an idea of how many people there are dancing in these night sessions. There are 3 venues – 2 separate gymansium halls and then there are the tennis courts.  They are all packed with dancers! For example, on the 3 contiguous tennis courts there are up to  3,000 people dancing at a time! The markidim alternate half hour brackets of circles and partners.A number of us from the teachers course had a most wonderful experience at the Karmiel festival.  We participated in the Karmiel Folk dance competition. This competition is run every year where 12 choreographers submit a dance.Eli Segal ( his dances that we dance at ZOOZ include kol hakoach, hayelid sheli, tzoek hazak, bo’ee)  invited the  participants of the Summer Course teachers dance course to demonstrate his new circle dance Rikud Ha’esh.  It was a wonderful experience to learn the dance from the choreographer and to rehearse with him. I am hoping to teach you the dance in the next few weeks- it’s a fun, vibrant debka dance which I’m sure you will all enjoy.My experience in Israel was very intense, stimulating and rewarding .  If any of you have any questions or are thinking of attending the course please feel free to ask me.  Of course, if you are planning to visit Israel and want to know about dancing in Israel, please ask any of the ZOOZ teachers and we will be happy to give you some recommendations.We are all so lucky to be part of this wonderful worldwide IFD community – it is indeed a special community. In spite of coming from different countries, backgrounds and cultures, we are all linked by our mutual enjoyment and love of Israeli dance. This was reinforced to me on this trip a number of times as well as on my previous overseas dancing experiences.I love dancing in different countries.  To date I have danced in America, Singapore and a number of times in Israel.The best of course is dancing at home, in our own dance ZOOZ sessions.Keep on dancing, smiling and ZOOZingCindy       
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