The Batsheva Dance Company will be setting out for a tour in Rwanda next week, and will put on a central performance as part of the festive opening ceremonies of a youth village not far from the capital Kigali.
The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village was founded with the help of the America Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and contributions from Jewish communities around the US, with the purpose of finding a place for the many orphans left in the country after the genocide that occurred there 15 years ago.
The village was built based on the model of youth villages in Israel that were used for the absorption of immigrants, and has been housing 190 youths for the past four months. Ultimately, some 500 boys and girls aged 14-18 will live in the village, and will take American matriculation classes and be offered many enrichment programs.
Batsheva going to Rwanda (Photo: Gadi Dagon)
The Batsheva dance group will put on Ohad Naharin's "Kamuyot" piece designed for young audiences. The performance will take place at the official opening on June 23 in front of the village's teens, Rwandan officials and donors.
Preparations for the show also include setting up the infrastructure and constructing the stage and seating area for the show. During the week the dancers will stay with former group member Stefan Ferry, and will hold workshops and meetings with the children.
'Dream come true'
The group will perform open rehearsals, and give GAGA and traditional African dance lessons, as well as dance parties and interdisciplinary arts workshops. The Batsheva dancers will also help the village's students to prepare their dance piece for the opening night.
Naomi Fortis, the group's general manager told Ynet the trip to Africa was a dream come true. "At first it sounded completely unrealistic. We didn't know how we would get organized, or where we would get the money for the trip. We had to raise almost $60,000, and that's just to fly the group and crew and cover visas and medical insurance," she said.
"Taking 'Kamuyot' to Africa is the realization of an amazing dream and an unprecedented moment. I am sure this will touch them and be a success, because the show also has joie de vivre and intimate communication between people.
"Everyone sees everyone and there is no audience left in the dark and performers on stage. All these elements are right for the setting and there is a feeling of complete fulfillment. I have no doubt that we will also learn a few things from them," Fortis added.