The Unique Graduation Performance of Fourth-year Students in the Dance Track at Orot Israel College


Student dancing in pool

"Edge" – The graduation performance of fourth-year students in the Dance Track in individual creations at the Elkana Campus Pool.

Dr. Talia Perlshtein, Head of the Dance Track and Choreography Lecturer Author of the article: Sharona Florsheim

The graduation show of fourth-year students in the Dance and Movement Track at Orot Israel College took place this year in a unique format due to COVID-19 regulations - in an open space at the pool at Orot Israel College's Elkana campus.

The "Edge" show was created during the corona plague in the semester break and last lockdown and was performed in front of an audience on Wednesday, March 17, 2021.

Normally, the final performances of students in the choreography course, which I supervise, takes place at the College auditorium on stage with lighting and amplification equipment adapted for a professional dance performance.

This year, in light of COVID 19's limitations, we had to find another space, other than a stage, to plan a show and create it in a situation of uncertainty while dealing with difficulties in various areas: lockdowns, weather changes, vaccination limitations and traveling to the College etc.

The idea of performing in the pool was a strange combination of an old dream and the constraints of the present period that came together and created an unconventional and unique move. More than once, I had watched the winter and spring months in the orphaned empty pool and said in my heart that a show in the pool must be done. Thoughts aside and deeds aside. The COVID-19 regulations, which forbade holding indoor shows in the presence of an audience, suddenly made the idea of a pool show quite relevant and inviting.

We (the students and I) met at the pool as soon as possible, even though it was a semester break for all of us. We decided that we would make an intense move of creating a show that will produce the artistic maximum from the existing reality. Each student chose a structural or geometric element found in the pool created a personal dance. For example, the edge of the pool, the red line separating the deep and shallow water, the water entry ladder and the walls of the pool were used as inspiring and innovative starting points for original works.

We organized the personal creations into a complete 50-minute show which we performed twice, in the afternoon in front of the College's principal, staff and students of the Dance Track and in the evening in front of friends and family. The spectators stood around the edge of the pool and moved to observe the different dances that took place simultaneously in the different parts of the pool.

The common feeling of all of us was that despite all the constraints and difficulties, together we managed to turn the disadvantage into an advantage and create a one-time and magical show. We insisted on creating a unique movement and creative world influenced by the space in which we performed and giving viewers an unforgettable experience.

Student Shai Marzel-Shulman wrote: What was really special about this show was the feeling of togetherness of our group. After a year in front of screens, we went back to really dancing, face to face, with feelings, emotions and a shared desire for the success of this project that was constantly uncertain. This uncertainty has taught us to create with what we have and with whom we have. It has taught us physical flexibility, but mostly mental flexibility.

This special location, the swimming pool, is not usual in any way, not in visibility, not in lighting, not in the discomfort of the crooked and rigid floor. On the other hand, it has created many possibilities and it has opened up so much for being creative. The pool really called us to create, to mold into it the content and studies that have accumulated in us over the past year towards our degree.

The special structure of the pool itself, the geometry that was with the red line, the blue stripes embedded in the pool, the ladders, the step, outside and inside the pool and also what the pool symbolizes - a meeting place, water, life and culture that was stopped this past year.

Batsheva Steinhardt, a student, added: The work process required so much, but it was so worth it. Seeing at the end how the dances flowed so professionally was so significant to me.

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