Unique Israeli Dance Ensemble to Make Premier U.s., Mexican Tour

Israel’s Kol Demama (Sound and Silence) dance ensemble, the world’s only professional dance company integrating deaf and hearing dancers, will make its premier American and Mexican tour October 23-November 25, it was announced here.

The group will tour 12 cities, beginning in Houston’s Jones Hall on October 23, and conclude with their engagement at the New York City Center November 20-25. This marks the first time an Israeli company will be presented at the historic City Center in its 1984/85 subscription series. Kol Demama also has received an official invitation from the Mexican government to perform at the highly esteemed Cervantino Festival.

The 15-member company communicates movement cues to each other through a ” vibrational” method created by Moshe Efrati who formed the group in 1978. Kol Demama’s artistic achievement, in which the hearing and the deaf dancers are indistinguishable from each other, is based on a technique whereby the ensemble’s deaf dancers pick up the vibrations through the sound of their feet, as well as light shoulder taps, the brushing of fingers, or even facial expressions from the hearing dancers, all of which are built into the choreography.

Efrati, a former member of Israel’s Bat Sheva ensemble and Martha Graham student, employs both classical and modern dance forms. He formed the Kol Demama company as a fusion of two other groups he also created, the completely deaf ensemble called Demama and the Efrati ensemble.

ENSEMBLE HAS RECEIVED RAPTUROUS ACCLAIM

Testimony to Kol Demama’s tremendous success is the fact that the ensemble gives 35 performances a year in Israel and has received rapturous critical and popular acclaim in Belgium, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Canada, and Italy, and will be performing its third season at the Theatre de la Ville in Paris this year.

Sponsored by the Kinneret Foundation, a nonprofit foundation established in 1978 to develop and support projects in the creative and performing arts in and for Israel, the Kol Demama tour will also include Washington, D.C., Dallas, Los Angeles, San Antonio, New Orleans, Louisville, Memphis, and Nashville, as well as Mexico City and Guanajunato in Mexico.

Members of the Kinneret Foundation committee for Kol Demama include actors Warren Beaty, Ed Asner, and George Segal; maestros Zubin Mehta and Lalo Schifrin; Academy Award winning lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman; choreographers Alvin Ailey and Jacques D’Amboise; and New York Shakespear director/producer Joseph Papp. Barbra Streisand is acting as honorary chairman of the honorary distinguished artists for Kol Demama.

The Kinneret Foundation initiated its program which supports Kol Demama and other arts projects with proceeds from its creation and sponsorship of the highly acclaimed ABC-TV special that paid special tribute to Israel’s 30th anniversary. The TV special marked the first time a foreign nation was honored on prime time television.

NEXT STORY