Speaking Art Through the Year

On Monday, June 11 some 35  dancers, actors and musicians gathered at the Jerusalem Intercultural Center for its mid-year conference. This mini-conference gives participants an opportunity to renew connections and create together before the main conference. It also enables us to receive feedback and suggestions from the participants themselves regarding future conferences. Because of its more intimate nature, all participants are able to participate in all the workshops. Thus, musicians, actors as well as dancers participated in the morning movement workshop as well as the afternoon music workshop. It was an interesting exercise for the artists to experiment in other artistic fields.


There were so many people attending the opening workshop in the morning with Ilanit Tadmor and Raba'a Mourkous, that the JICC borrowed a hall from the neighboring Mt. Zion Monastery. Both Ilanit and Raba'a are veteran dancers and choreographers, and have led workshops at the main Speaking Art Conference for the past 3 years. In their joint workshop they tried to create a joint professional 'language' through movement, using minimal language. They also brought elements ofSufi dance and contact improvisation into the workshop.


The afternoon music session was led by members of the group Na'am, a mixed Jewish-Arab, Jerusalem-based music ensemble that performed at last year's mid-year conference and worked with musicians in a guest workshop at the 2011 main conference in November. They worked with participants on improvisation and how each person reacted to what the other was playing. This type of activity was metaphorical for work in bridging between Jews and Arabs, and all peoples in conflict. "The crux of this type of music is listening," said Nur one of the ensemble members who led the workshop. "and sometimes you listen to things you don't agree with. But you have to continue, it's the music."


To close the day, we all sang songs in Hebrew and in Arabic, led by the Pashut Sharim (Just Singing) ensemble. This group, operating under the auspices of the Hillel Organization at Hebrew University, has regular Hebrew – Arabic sing-alongs at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. Participants joined in the performance – in song, darbuka drum, guitar and more. They were able to follow along using the song sheets that were distributed, which included all songs in Hebrew and Arabic, each transliterated into the other language. 


Click here to watch a short video.