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Unicorn empowerment: Jerusalem Dance Theater comes back to the stage

CM 26/05/2021


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Reality can be crushing. After the past few weeks, months, year, the Israeli public is in need of some uplift. One could even go so far as to say that a little magic would be just what the doctor ordered. In times like these, when the world around appears daunting, choreographer Eyal Nahum imagines a unicorn emerging from storybooks and gracing us with its presence. 
“The concept comes from the kids I am growing with,” says Nahum over the phone. It is the first day of the ceasefire and Nahum is recovering from rushing his three children up and down four flights of stairs amid the wail of sirens. “The speakers are across from our house so we HEARD the sirens,” he explains. 
In June, Nahum will reveal a long-awaited new piece, The Return of the Unicorn, made for his company, Jerusalem Dance Theater. The process was longer than anyone could anticipate. The piece was made as part of the 2020 season and was set to premiere one year ago. 
“We waited and waited and waited. Then we set the premiere for two weeks ago but it was postponed again. Now, we are very excited to finally show the work to our audience,” he says. 
Nahum adds that the process for The Return of the Unicorn was a long one, independent of delays due to the pandemic. 
“I’ve been cooking this piece for a very long time; it took several years to prepare the concept and the content. My children’s world connected with my world and ideas bounced back and forth from their childhood to memories of my own. The unicorn represents my first essence, which was conquered by our orthodox reality in which you can’t be what you are because if you are different, it constitutes an existential threat to everything we are.”
He recalls beginning to perform as a child. 

“I was always drawn to the stage. When I was nine, I was chosen to perform in the Children’s Festival (today’s Festigal). After that, I was cast in all of the school productions and ceremonies. Then, one girl laughed at me and called me a fairy. In that moment, I lost my voice. I couldn’t sing anymore.”
Though he could no longer sing, the stage still called to Nahum, pushing him to explore dance. “I didn’t need my voice, I could move,” he reminisces. ‘THE UNICORN represents my first essence.’ (Shalom Boaron)‘THE UNICORN represents my first essence.’ (Shalom Boaron)
Today, Nahum continues to be haunted by those taunting remarks. As a proud father, he is acutely aware of the criticism and teasing his children might be exposed to as a result of their family structure. 
“I have to give my kids a reality in which they can be themselves and operate in this world. The whole piece is a way to present existential anxieties and deal with them.”
The piece is accompanied by music by Laurie Anderson, whose compositions and texts inspired and soothed Nahum. 
“Her music empowers me,” he says. “In finding Laurie, I found a person who expresses what I feel. She is a partner to me in my existence. Her music makes me feel less alone. When I decided to use her music for this piece, all I had to do was direct the movement, the rest was already in the music.”
The dancers, who Nahum cites as collaborators in the process, connected to the themes of the work in their own way. 
“Each person found a contact point that was specific to them. If it was how it feels to be shunned or how each one of them connects to the thing that makes them feel good, the subject matter became communal to them. I hope that today the unicorn would be able to reappear… that it would feel empowered and know that it would not be hunted. That the unicorn would feel safe.”
The Return of the Unicorn will be performed by Jerusalem Dance Theater on June 16 and July 6 at the Tel Aviv’s Suzanne Dellal Center, and on June 24 at Jerusalem’s Beit Masie. For more information, visit jdt-company.com

Source: Jerusalem Post

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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