(via Allison Kaplan-Sommer)
I’m so revolted by the whole thing that I’m physically shaking.
Okay so here’s what happened:
A very hip, Tel Aviv-based modern dance company (pictured above) I recently profiled returned from Manhattan’s Alvin Ailey Theater last week and they’re off to performances in Cuba and North America this Spring. I figure they’re on the up & up. So I pick up the phone to the aforementioned London dance magazine editor to pitch the story.
The head of advertising answers and immediately launches into a quiet yet resolute political diatribe upon hearing where the company is based. I’m thinking: WTF? Why is a dance magazine guy talking politics to me? And never mind my interjections on artistic director Sally-Anne’s behalf…that she broke away from apartheid South Africa, that her most recent creation Borders expresses boundary breakdowns both personal and political ….
He tells me that because of the occupation the magazine doesn’t run stories on dance companies based in Israel. He also assures that he is in no way, shape or form racist because he’s a Sikh from Northern India. Gee, I feel better.
He recommends I speak with the magazine editor so I do. She backs his stance. Even further. We don’t allow advertisements or stories from Israel but if we are going to run something, it’s with a statement from the source denouncing the occupation she replies.
So what do you need? I ask. A disclaimer from the artistic director?
I want to know where they get their funding she tells me. If it’s from Israel or from the Israeli government then I can’t run anything on them.
Let me think for a minute. A dance company (i.e. NO MONEY) traveling internationally without government or affiliate sponsorship…It was over before it started.
So I quietly ask this uber fair unbiased person protesting occupation from the comfort of her cushy office suite while simultaneously shutting out artistic attempts at bridging gaps whether she’s been here before.
I’m fully aware of the situation she answers.
But have you been here? …And you know, as did I, what her answer was. I hung up.
I’m against the occupation too, for the record, and want a resolution to the HLC (Holy Land Central) mess more than does the London Dance Lady because I have more at stake.
But we’re talking dance here, folks. And blatant anti-semitism. And ignorance and a dangerous policy that mirrors the very policy its creators wish to abolish.
Allison Kaplan-Sommer then points out:
The crowning touch: if you read the “About Us” section, check out how the magazine describes its editorial policy:
The editorial policy aims to provide an unbiased platform for dance throughout Europe and beyond, Many of the contributors are professional dancers or ex-dancers.
I’m just calm enough to add this link to their contact page.
How to Contact Us
P.O. Box 12661
London E5 9TZ
+44 (0)20 8985 7767/8533 7815
+44 (0)20 8525 0462
London: +44 (0)20 8533 7815
Paris: +33 (0)1 44 53 90 21
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7682 1733 (direct line)
or (0)20 8985 7767
mobile: +44 (0)7981 94 53 20
Write to them and tell them what you feel. Advertisers let them know as well. Dance journalists, you should be up-in-arms and let your colleagues know what you think.
Does this mean to tell me that Dance Europe has completely ignored Ohad Naharin and Batsheva Dance Company? Do they review his work when its set on other dance companies?
If not, the let me provide some background on what they’re missing:
The piece, Naharin’s Virus, is a gripping, beautiful, at times alarming merging of dance and words. Virus treads the line between art and politics as the dancers’ movement intertwines tortured moves, pedestrian gestures, and contemporary dance vocabularies. Its score was created by Habib Alla Jamal, a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, in collaboration with Sharma Khader, an Arab-Israeli, and Israeli Karni Postel.
Joseph Melillo, executive producer of BAM, said that seeing the piece performed in Israel was “a transformative moment. You understood completely where tolerance of various cultures could come together through art [and] divergent belief systems can find commonality.”
One would imagine you could understand that.
Feel free to comment.
Third in the series.