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May 01, 1987 - Image 88

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-05-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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88

Friday, May 1, 1987

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Sugg.
List

Dance Troupe Preserves
Yemenite Tradition

Jerusalem — As a result of
unlimited immigration during
the 1940s and '50s, Israel ex-
perienced an influx of foreign
tradition, music, dress and life-
styles, each indigenous of the
communities the olim had come
from: Morocco, Yemen, Iraq,
Tunisia, Kurdistan, etc. Many
of these immigrants gradually
discarded their traditions and
heritage, thinking them out-
dated. Ethnographers,
musicologists and sociologists
have, in recent years, begun to
realize that for this reason a
wealth of culture is disappear-
ing, and will be lost forever
unless something is done to
capture and preserve it.
One person bent upon preser-
ving her roots, long before it
became fashionable, is Sara
Levi-Tanai, founder and artistic
director of the Inbal Dance
Theater, a troupe established
39 years ago to keep the spirit
of the Jews of Yemen alive.
Unlike some of her dancers who
actually came to Israel in
`Operation Magic Carpet,'
which brought 49,000 Yemenite
Jews to the country in
1949-1950, Levi Tanai is a
sabra, born in Jerusalem to
Yemenite parents and brought
up in an orphanage. It wasn't
until adulthood, and after hav-
ing lived and worked in a kib-
butz teaching dance and music,
that she began to feel the desire
to identify with her heritage.
Inbal, which means "tongue
of the bell," began as a folk
dance group, bringing the
music, costumes and
movements of the Eastern
Oriental communities to the
Israeli stage.
Today, Inbal, whose perma-
nent home is at Neveh Tzedek
in Tel Aviv, is a tight knit group
of 12 dancers ranging in age
from 20 to 50. Since its
choreography and expression is
drawn from real, everyday life
experiences, a dancer at Inbal
can't be "too old." Young
members, mainly from Sephar-
di families, generally come
with no formal dance training,
but once accepted, begin the
rigorous 12-hour-a-day, six-day-
a-week Inbal routine. Several of
the dancers, who have been
devoted followers of Levi-Tanai
for over 20 years, are now
choreographers and teachers of
dance in their own right,
spreading the "Inbal idiom"
throughout the country while
continuing to work and perform
with the troupe. -
Inbal performances often in-
clude Yemenite ritual, such as
"The Wedding," complete with
traditional dress. This includes
the Bar'a, the first part of the
festivities which always takes
place after the Sabbath; the
Henna ritual celebrated prior
to the wedding, when the

bride's hands are painted with
henna, a red dye made from the
leaves of the hawsonia alba
plant, and the wedding
ceremony itself. Another
favorite is the dance "Shabbath
Shalom," depicting the tradi-
tional Jewish sabbath.
Also included in the com-
pany's repertoire are biblical
themes such as the "Song of
Deborah," and more recently
the "Song of Songs," in which
King Solomon expresses his
love for Shulamit the
shepherdess, an allegorical in-
terpretation for the love of God
and for the Jewish people. Sara
Levi-Tanai's choreography
elaborately combines the ex-
pression of love and religious
ecstasy, and uses movements
from the religious rites of
various Jewish communities.

Cabinet Rejects
War Fete

Jerusalem (JTA) — Pre-
mier Yitzhak Shamir found
himself in the minority when
the Cabinet voted 7-5 Sunday
to reject proposals for 9 spe-
cial events to observe the
20th anniversary of the Six-
Day War on June 5.
The vote was taken after
Yosef Shapira, a minister-
without-portfolio of the reli-
gious party, Morasha, ap-
pealed a decision by the
ministerial committee on
ceremonies and symbols
against a special event.
Education Minister Yit-
zhak Navon pointed out that
Israel has never celebrated a
war as such. The Jerusalem
Day celebration evolved spon-
taneously and was a fitting
national tribute to the 1967
liberation of Israel's capital
during the Six-Day War,
Navon said.

YOUTH

(

Cub Scouts
To Receive Flag

The Hillel Day School
Jewish Community Center
Cub Scout Pack 14 and the
Bloch Rose Auxiliary of the
Jewish War Veterans of
America will sponsor the pre-
sentation of an American flag
to the pack by the auxiliary,
11 a.m. Sunday in Hillel Day
School's multi-purpose room.
The flag will be presented
to Pack 14 by Gerry
Feldman, patriotic in-
structress of the auxiliary.
The public is invited.

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