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Israeli Identity through Dance

By Sally Acharya

Dancer Idan Cohen in Dancing Israeli Identify

Dancer Idan Cohen in Dancing Israeli Identify (Photo: Jeff Watts)

 What does culture tell us about a country? In the case of Israel, dance offers a window into an identity that can’t be encapsulated by the Middle East conflict alone. An evening of dance and discussion—featuring a top dancer and an AU historian—capped off several days of interdisciplinary learning that revolved around the visit to AU of Idan Cohen, a renowned Israeli dancer and choreographer. He met with Professor Nina Spiegel’s class on Museums and Memory: America and Israel, held a master’s class for AU dance students, and performed at the event that also involved a discussion on how the edgy, modernist feel of Israeli dance reflects the country’s origins in socialist idealism and communalism, and Israel's unique historical and political trajectory.

"Dancing Israeli Identity: Looking Backward, Looking Forward" was hosted by the Center for Israel Studies and sponsored by the center, Jewish Studies Program, Department of Performing Arts, Embassy of Israel, and Foundation for Jewish Culture.