Services & Venues:
Take-aways & Social Issues:
Some of our dancers encountered a political edge in their interactions with the college-aged Israeli students at the Seminar Hakkibutzim, once they learned that we had just come from programs in Jordan. The tensions between the Arab and Israelis is obviously very close to the surface and even a casual reference to Jordan can lead to controversy.
On the other hand, our work at the Arab-Jewish Community Center in Jaffa, with younger students mixed between Jews and Muslims, was completely devoid of tensions. The individuals in the mixed classes were indistinguishable in terms of ethnic/religious background and they worked very well together.
This program prepared us for what was to be a second program in Israel, 6 years later, in which we worked with Israeli, Palestinian and German youth in mixed groups.
Israel has a very advanced system of arts education, quite extraordinary for a country of its small size and population. Both our dancers and musicians enjoyed the interactions immensely with such a well-prepared, curious and talented group of students.
The most challenging aspect of our program in Israel was the pre-tour stage. The Embassy didn’t begin the process of securing a theater until a couple of months before the tour. This was far too late given Israel’s high track dance scene. Fortunately, at the last minute, the FSN in Tel Aviv found Ennis Auditorium in Jaffa. This proved to be a boon – because the location allowed for the primarily Arab population of Jaffa as well as the Israelis to attend the performance, which was packed to the rafters.