Speaking Art 9 - Continuing Tradition

Outside are talks of politics – building in which zones, UN, refugees, terror factions. But on December 6, 2012, at the Ninth Annual Speaking Art Conference for Jewish and Arab Arts Professionals, Jewish and Arab colleagues discussed music, art, theater, not politics.

This year 51 dancers, actors and musicians took part in the one-day conference. The dancers worked under the tutelage of Ilanit Tadmor and Raba'a Murkous, whose collaborative work began two years ago at a Speaking Art Conference. Since then they have been cooperating on long-term projects and have been bringing Jewish and Arab dancers together from across Israel. This year the dance workshop consisted of a small core of Jewish and Arab dancers who have worked together throughout the year, this being their 4th meeting thus far. Through improvisational dance and contact they focused on issues of 'memory' and each of the 3 sub-groups had to choose one word that characterized their work together. These words included 'friendship', 'knowing', etc. – all words that showed a deep, personal connection across cultures.

The Jewish and Arab leaders of the Theater Workshop were also continuing a partnership formed at a former Speaking Art Conference. Shmuel Hadjes, of the Jerusalem-based Psik Theater, and Hisham Suleiman, from the Nazareth Fringe Theater ensemble, in their second year of collaboration, this year concentrated on the theme, 'Him, Me and You', and engaged playback artists as well in the workshops, who added an extra dimension to the work.

For the third year in a row, Sameer Makhoul, composer, musician and singer, and instructor at the the Center for Middle Eastern Music in Jerusalem, led the music group. As in previous years, they performed familiar pieces from the Middle Eastern repertoire, and learned new Andalusian works.

The Conference closed in the evening with a short performance of Helen Sabila and Liron Meyuchas, followed by a workshops by Steve Batts, Artistic Director of Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, one of Irelands leading dance organizations. Steve has thirty years of experience in performing, teaching and creating work in an incredibly wide range of contexts. Steve has had an ongoing creative relationship with both Israel and Palestine since 1996 when he was invited to teach the summer school for the Jerusalem Rubin Academy. His workshop dealt with non-verbal and non-lingual methods of communication.

Speaking Art 9 Continuing Tradition