IN THIS EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, Daughter Of The Arts TALKS WITH ISRAELI FOLK DANCE CHOREOGAPHER KOBI MICHAELI ABOUT THE PROCESS OF CREATING HIS DANCES AND HIS DANCE EXPERIENCES.
DOTA: What was your first experience with dancing?
KM: It was Israeli folk dancing, when I was about 10 years old. There was a dance teacher in the school, and during the break, they taught folk dancing.
DOTA: When did you start choreographing Israeli folk dances?
KM: When I was about 17 years old, I tried to make a line dance and it wasn’t that good, but it was a beginning! It was “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” (singer Wham)
DOTA: When did you choreograph the next dance?
KM: I think it was the line dance Amazonas (1998). It was the first good one.
DOTA: Your dance “Yare’ach Limon” (circle 2000), has an unusual hand movement, like the moon, suggested by the words. How do you decide what movements you will put in a dance?
KM: I first try to go with the words. If they go well with hands, then I go with it. If not, then, secondly, I am trying to feel it through the song (music).
DOTA: Is there someone who has been an influence on you?
KM: Every student has a teacher to learn from. My dance teacher in primary school, taught me how to dance in front of an audience, and then how to use my hands. His name was Amos Kav.
DOTA: What differences do you see among dancers folk dancing in Israel compared to the United States or other places?
KM: In Israel, in the beginning they come because they like to dance. After a while, they come to dance to show off! This is what I see. For the first one, two, three years, they are coming to dance because they like it and because they want to dance. Then, because there are so many choices, they are dancing too much, and it’s not so interesting to dance for themselves, but to dance for somebody else who is looking at them!
DOTA: What about in the U.S. or other countries?
KM: Most are coming because they want to feel a sense of the Israeli community and be connected to Israel some how. They are not losing the beauty of it in other places. They are coming to dance because they like to dance.
DOTA: When you are teaching and leading sessions, what do you try to share with dancers?
KM: I try to teach the dances with the choreography and the music. If I like the dance, I’m trying to make them feel the way I feel.
DOTA: Do you have a dance group that you lead in Israel?
KM: I have two sessions, Monday and Wednesday; Monday in Re’ot, and Wednesday in Ramla.
Kobi Michaeli –A brief bio
Kobi started dancing at the age of 10. In 1995 he completed a course for instructors in Tel Aviv which lasted 2 years and was run by Rina Meir.
Kobi has choreographed more than 25 dances. At the Carmiel folk dance festival, in 2000, his couple dance “Tagio Etze” won second place; his “Yareach Limon” won second place in 2001; “Tikvatenu” won second place in 2002.
Kobi says that choreographing a dance is an internal need to create. It is not planned. He also feels that the future of IFD depends on the instructors who understand what the dancers want. A successful instructor knows how to run a session, to teach well, and to pay attention to the music that the crowd wants to hear and accepts criticism. He believes in complete teaching, personal attention to everyone. Results come with investment like in any other field, he says.
Daughter Of The Arts thanks Uzi Shulman for assistance with translating.
Kobi Michaeli will be a guest choreographer at Ramah Rikkudiah dance weekend, January 12-14, 2007 in Ojai, California. http://www.ramah.org/pr_rikkudiah.shtml