The individual. Human relationships. Circles of life. Existence itself.
These are some of the heady themes presented in “Horses in the Sky,” a full-evening, full-company, “full-vision” piece for all 18 dancers of the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. The show, which lasts an hour without intermission, will have its Orange County premiere at the Irvine Barclay Theatre on Oct. 24.
“The work relates to our existence in the universal sense,” explained Rami Be'er, the company's artistic director, as well as the choreographer, composer and lighting/sound/set/costume designer of “Horses in the Sky.” “It relates to the different circles which encompass our existence: the individual and himself; the relationships within and between couples; society and the group, with the individual in front of the group.”
Named after a 2005 song (and album) of the same name by the Canadian experimental post-rock band A Silver Mt. Zion, “Horses in the Sky” premiered in August 2016 in a series of performances at the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
Be’er, a cellist, created every aspect of the show.
"In addition to the dance movement, I am responsible for the music,” he said. “It's a full vision, and I do all this independently along with the people who work with me. The fact that I do this independently doesn't come from a place of ego, but rather a vision and a unison that I look for in our pieces that have a defined message.”
One of Israel's leading dance companies, the Kibbutz was formed in 1970 as the Inter-Collective Dance Company by Holocaust survivor and Israel Prize laureate Yehudit Arnon. Be'er — who joined the company in 1980 as a dancer and, shortly afterward, became a choreographer — has been artistic director since 1996.
“Our founder moved to Israel in the late 1940s with a vision and purpose of dedicating her life to dance,” Be'er said of Arnon, one of his early dance instructors. “She founded the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company with this very vision and purpose in mind: to create a space for the creation of elite dance performances and furthering dance education.”
The Kibbutz is still located where it was founded: in the International Dance Village of the Kibbutz Ga'aton, a communal settlement established in 1948 by Jewish refugees, including Arnon and Be'er's parents. It’s also where Be'er was born and raised.
“We're situated in what is considered the most diverse region of Israel,” Be'er said of western Galilee, “and we've used dance to bring people together, no matter (if they’re a) Jew or Arab, and [to launch] such programs for youth at risk and women combating domestic violence.”
Be’er recently premiered “Mother's Milk,” dedicated to his late parents, and is currently working on “Asylum,” dealing with immigration, refugees and those seeking asylum.
“For me, dance ... is a way to create communication between people of different backgrounds, cultures, religions,” he said. “I believe that what we present is our humble contribution to help create a better world in which to live.”
IF YOU GO
What: Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company
Who: Rami Be'er’s “Horses in the Sky”
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 24
Where: Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine
Cost: Tickets start at $48