Asaf Medina, one of the members of theKeshet Chaim Dance Ensemble
Local dance ensemble Keshet Chaim willtake the stage for Israel's 50th
By Diane Arieff Zaga,Arts Editor
The mood in the Jewish state may not be one ofcelebration at the moment, but plans to commemorate the country'supcoming 50th birthday continue, both in Israel and right here in LosAngeles. One of the more unique cultural offerings to be presentedlocally will be "Jerusalem -- A Mystical Journey," a newdance-theater piece to be performed by the Keshet Chaim DanceEnsemble on Feb. 21 and 22.
Keshet Chaim is an American-Israeli contemporarydance troupe that regularly incorporates Jewish thematic elementsinto its work. During its 15-year history, the company has graduallybuilt a following among Los Angeles audiences, performing everywherefrom the 1984 Olympics celebration to the Los Angeles Music Center tothe Las Vegas hotel circuit.
Led by artistic director and choreographer EytanAvisar, Keshet Chaim spent two years creating and refining itsmultimedia "Jerusalem" piece. Combining original music and specialeffects with a collage of dance, it's an ambitious effort to visuallyinterpret Jewish mysticism and history, from the cosmic boom ofCreation to Israeli statehood.
Along with a pageant of hand-painted silk costumesand a prerecorded narration by Frank Sinatra Jr., a central highlightof the performance will be the appearance of acclaimed Israeli singerDavid D'Or, a seasoned international performer whose commanding voicespans 3 1/2 octaves, from contra tenor to baritone.
"This is a collaborative effort...and it's reallyquite a complex production," Avisar said in an interview with TheJewish Journal. "We chose to focus on Jerusalem because it isIsrael's heart...it is the center of our cosmic energy."
Typically, contemporary dance companies don'tenjoy the broad audiences that flock to pop culture events, butAvisar regards "Jerusalem -- A Mystical Journey" as the kind ofinspiring dance-theater effort that will appeal to a wide variety ofaudiences.
"Keshet Chaim has played a role in this communityfor the last 15 years, and it hasn't always been easy," he said. "Butbecause we are so unique, we have built an audience.... Wherever weperform, we get a tremendous welcome. Jerusalem, which is so preciousto several religions, will draw a wider audience."
All performances will take place at the NewPerforming Arts Center at Cal State Northridge. Audiences will alsobe able to view "Theodor Herzl and the Pioneers of Israel," a photoexhibit in the Performing Arts Center lobby.
Keshet Chaim's new production was funded in partby the Milken, Stringer and Jewish community foundations, the HillelCouncil at Cal State Northridge, the University of Judaism and otherorganizations.
Tickets may be purchased through the campus officeat (818) 677-2488, Keshet Chaim at (818) 784-0344, Hataklit at (800)428-2554 or through Ticketmaster. For directions, performance times,ticket prices and other information, call (818) 784-0344.