Dancers On Tour: Pittsburgh in Tel Aviv

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!

Latest Posts


DTH's Alexandra Hutchinson and Derek Brockington work out with trainer Lily Overmyer at Studio IX. Photo by Joel Prouty, Courtesy Hutchinson.

Working Out With DTH’s Alexandra Hutchinson

Despite major pandemic shutdowns in New York City, Alexandra Hutchinson has been HIIT-ing her stride. Between company class with Dance Theater of Harlem and projects like the viral video "Dancing Through Harlem"—which she co-directed with roommate and fellow DTH dancer Derek Brockington—Hutchinson has still found time to cross-train. She shares her motivation behind her killer high-intensity interval training at Studio IX on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Cicely Tyson and the Enduring Legacy of Arthur Mitchell’s Dance Theatre of Harlem

Cicely Tyson, the legendary 96-year-old Black actress whose February 16 funeral at Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church was attended by, among others, Tyler Perry, Lenny Kravitz, and Bill and Hillary Clinton, is remembered for performances that transcended stereotypes and made an indelible impression on a nation's heart and soul.

Among the most fondly remembered is her breakout role in the 1972 movie Sounder, which depicts a Black sharecropper family's struggle to survive in the Jim Crow South. The role catapulted Tyson to stardom, winning her an Academy Award nomination and a reputation as someone committed to enhancing Blacks' representation in the arts. Throughout a seven-decade career, countless critically acclaimed, award-winning roles in films, onstage and on television reaffirmed that image. Yet one role reflecting the depth of that commitment is much less visible—the supporting one she played working with longtime friend Arthur Mitchell when he envisioned, shaped and established the groundbreaking Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

As Ballet Looks Toward Its Future, Let's Talk About Its Troubling Emotional Demands

As a ballet student, I distinctively remember being told that to survive ballet as a profession, one must be exceptionally thick-skinned and resilient. I always assumed it was because of the physically demanding nature of ballet: long rehearsal hours, challenging and stressful performances, and physical pain.

It wasn't until I joined a ballet company that I learned the true meaning behind those words: that the reason one needs thick skin is not because of the physical demands, but because of the unfair and unnecessary emotional demands.

Undoubtedly, emotional and physical strength go hand in hand to some extent. But the kind of emotional demand I am talking about here is different; it is not the strength one finds in oneself in moments of fatigue or unwillingness. It is the strength one must have when being bullied, humiliated, screamed at, manipulated or harassed.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks