Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Israel Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Israel The Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Israel performs "Undivided Void." (Photo: Uri Nevo / Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company)

Israeli dance troupes have international allure

Boundary-pushing dance companies are attracting talent and performing all over the world.

Israel's thriving dance community is attracting dancers, major choreographers and admirers of the art form from around the world. Batsheva Dance Company and The Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company are two of the troupes breaking down cultural barriers through the universal language of dance.

Batsheva Dance Company was founded in 1964 by Baroness Batsheva De Rothschild and Martha Graham, one of the world's most famous dancers at the time. Since 1990, the company’s artistic director has been Israeli Ohad Naharin, today considered one of the most talented choreographers in the world. The New York Times wrote of Naharin: “He is distinguished by stunningly flexible limbs and spines, deeply grounded movement, explosive bursts and a vitality that grabs a viewer by the collar.”

Naharin, who has an honorary doctorate from the Juilliard School, also pioneered a new form of dance, called Gaga, that focuses on body awareness and has been called one of the dance world’s most significant innovations in the last decade.

Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, IsraelThe Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company is known for its vitality, intensity and raw physicality of its styles of movement. (Photo: Uri Nevo/Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company)

The Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC), located in the community of Kibbutz Gaaton in the Western Galilee, was founded in 1973 by the late Judith Arnon. Sixty Israeli and international dancers make up the main company, led by world-renowned artistic director Rami Be’er. Known for its vitality, intensity and raw physicality of its styles of movement, KCDC is regularly invited to perform on the best stages across the world.

This season alone, KCDC will stage performances in Hungary, Germany, Israel, South Korea, Poland, Italy, Luxembourg, France and Canada. In the United States, it will perform in Texas, California and Nevada.

Nikki Theroux and Chelsea Reichert, both professional dancers-in-training at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, auditioned and were accepted into KCDC’s summer intensive program. When asked what drew them to study in Israel, Theroux told From the Grapevine, “Israel is so heavily tied to its culture that I felt coming to dance in this country would provide me with a complete experience of both a new movement perspective and a way of living.” 

Reichert added, “Most of the Israeli dance companies I have seen perform also have a way of moving that feels like it comes from such an honest and raw place, and looks so free.”


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