Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC), widely recognised as one of the world’s leading dance companies and led by acclaimed Artistic Director, Rami Be’er, hosts a unique 5-month international and pre-professional dance program known as the Dance Journey program. Open to dancers aged 18 years and up from around the globe, the Israel Dance Journey program offers an incredible experience for professional development. Located at the International Dance Village in Kibbutz Ga’aton, The Israel Dance Journey program is recognized as an apprentice program by most major academic institutions.
The program begins each February and September and offers dance students from across the globe an unparalleled opportunity to engage in some of the best professional and academic dance training while living among and studying with some of Israel’s top choreographers and dance teachers.
The dance village is located in Kibbutz Ga’aton in the picturesque region of the Galilee, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
You will also have the opportunity to tour Israel, learn Hebrew, and much more!
Normally as a professional dancer, studio hours are from 9:00 am-5:00 pm, similar to the working hours in other professions. On the International Dance Journey program there was 8-9 hours of dance each day which “left no separation between dance life and personal life,” Emma reflected. This was partly because she lived on the same Kibbutz as the dance studio making her commute to the studio only a short walk.
“I became mentally and physically fit during this time,” Emma remarked, “Physically, we had to take advantage of the evenings to practice the personal dance pieces that we were working on. Mentally, there was a lot of choreography to learn and remember.” In addition to learning the dance repertoire, Emma participated in other strength and conditioning classes such as reformer pilates and body mechanics classes.
When not dancing, Emma enjoyed grabbing a coffee or a beer at the gorgeous cafe and bar on the Kibbutz. As part of the Masa program, there were monthly trips to the different regions of Israel and Emma especially connected with the south of the country. “The south of Israel is beautiful,” Emma exclaimed, “the desert walks that we did were magical.”
Emma also had a chance to perform twice during the program at the theatre on the Kibbutz. While there was an audition to be accepted into the program, Emma would recommend the program to anyone who is interested and qualified to participate. “There were 13 Australians in the program out of 38 participants,” Emma observed, “Which provided a nice balance of spending time with other Australians and meeting people from around the world.”
After discovering her Jewish background, Tori was then able to apply for a Masa scholarship. This allowed her to extend her stay in Israel on the Dance Journey program for an extra semester to continue her personal and professional journey there.
Different to many other Masa programs, only about 20% of the students on this program are Jewish. This leads to an incredibly diverse group with a meaningful opportunity to teach the cohort about life, culture and history in Israel.
Living on Kibbutz Ga’aton in the North West of Israel, participants endured rigorous dance practice from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm each day. In addition to the dance, there were opportunities to delve into Israeli life and culture through two Ulpan (Hebrew) lessons as well as a weekly trip or educational activity.
Of the trips she took around the country, Tori’s favourite was Jerusalem because of the rich history and the sense that the learning about the city was never-ending.
Tori’s mum came to visit her during her program; visiting Israel for the first time as well. Spending time in Israel with her mum was one of the most meaningful moments of her Israel experience. “We shared a special moment when my mum acknowledged that I could teach her about her heritage that she never learned from her father.”