Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is currently on tour in Israel to perform in the 25th anniversary of Karmiel Dance Festival. Principal dancer Alexandra Kochis is guest blogging about the experience for Pointe.
We have arrived in Israel! After a few airline delays and one 11-hour flight from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv, we are finally checked into our seaside hotel in the town of Acre.
But, perhaps I should backtrack just a bit to start out. We first learned about the possibility of this tour towards the end of last season and I feel like, since then, I've approached the idea with both excitement and a bit of trepidation. Once plans were firm, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre organized a half day cultural briefing for us to familiarize ourselves a bit with the country, culture and people. None of the dancers here on the tour have ever been to Israel before. From the few speakers we heard, it sounded like a modern, thriving country of friendly people eager to share their culture and get to know a bit about ours. And, from the beginning, I was intrigued by the paradox of what these natives of Israel had to say about their country and the turmoil and unrest we've grown so accustomed to seeing on the news. Above all though one thing was clear: Israelis love dance.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is hear to participate in the Karmiel Dance Festival which, we learned, brings some 250,000 people to this otherwise small town in Northern Israel every year. I am really excited to see what the festival will be like since we have heard that there is quite a variety of dancers here to participate. Everything ranging from folk dance groups from the various Kibbutz to professional ballet and modern companies from around the world. It should be an exciting an event!