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Songs & Borders

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An international Collaboration Project between Michael Getman ( IL ), The Neue Vocal- solisten ( GER) and Prof Dr Daniel Peter Biro (N)


Songs & Borders brings together artists, intellectuals, and community members from different cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds from Israel, Germany, and Norway. It wishes to expand people's personal and communal practice.

In a time when both individuals and communities, experiencing a growing disconnection, Songs& Borders asks to address these issues by bringing us closer to ourselves, our identity, tradition, surroundings and nature, our beliefs, aspirations, and each other. Through a careful process of identity exploration, we welcome the human body and dreams, a shared space full of stories, rituals, tensions, wounds, and hope. We ask to listen, understand, and embody different narratives without fear of losing our own by giving a voice to different communities who share the same space. We ask to challenge and redefine structures and concepts of borders, borders between different communities, within communities, within ourselves. We ask to address the concerns of identity, and the archetypal figure of the human form, through the guise of geo- graphical, social, and political events. To create and inhabit a space that lends itself to individual expression within a communal creation.

Songs &Borders encourages a melting-pot of cultures, languages, and mediums, out of which, hopefully, a new cul- tural and social understanding will be forged.

The Project


The Galilee, the Finger of the Galilee, the Hula Valley, and the Golan Heights are home to different ethnic communities:

Sunni Muslims, Christian Arabs, Syrian Druze, Bedouin, Circassians, Arameans Maronites, Ashkenazi Jews, and

Sephardic. Coexisting within a world of political tension and conflict, these neighboring communities interact only at a distance. The tension and underlying estrangement is a dominating facet of everyday life in the region. Songs & Borders revolves around the act of prayer as a form of communication that transcends cultural limitations but at the same time maintains uniqueness using different physical techniques and customs. The project aims to host and assist in socio-cultural dialogue, seeking to learn how knowledge is produced and disseminated within and between communities and populations. Through the lens of culturally unique forms, each will tell a story that touches upon ethnic and political identities, spatial belonging, heritage, traditions, and innovations, namely, the boundaries that define and separate the communities as people but are nonetheless common to humanity. Elected representative women (nonprofessional performers) will represent each local culture, and thus, each representative will embody her personal story. These issues constitute boundaries that define and separate communities but are nevertheless common to humanity. The Neue Vocalsolisten will be interacting as performers on stage, forming a sort of “Greek chorus” that follows and comments on the happening on stage. Their presence allows the audience to reflect deeper on what they see and offers a conceptual layer within the overall dramaturgy of the piece. The work includes contemporary composition, choreography, storytelling, video, and audio documentation with ethnographic and ethnomusicology research. The interdisciplinary project obtained alongside field research will enable a melting pot of cultures, languages, and mediums to construct a stagework.

Songs& Liturgy


By focusing on prayer – a form of communication that transcends cultural limitations and yet is culturally specific in its bodily techniques and practices – the current project seeks to facilitate a new socio-cultural dialogue. It asks to study the ways in which knowledge is produced and circulated within and between societies and communities. Within the project, each local tradition will be represented by a given community member. Through the lens of culturally unique forms of liturgy, each person will tell a story that touches upon ethnic and political identities, spatial belonging, ethics, heritage, traditions and innovations, namely, the boundaries that define and separate the communities as people but are nonetheless common to humanity. Combining contemporary composition, choreography, storytelling, video and audio documentation with historical, ethnographic and ethnomusicology research, the resulting interdisciplinary work and accompanying field school will allow for a melting-pot of cultures, languages and mediums, out of which, hopefully, a new cultural and social understanding will be forged.



While culturally specific in form, prayer is a broadly human action, a primal cry of the heart. One could find prayer as a form (technique) of knowledge that travels across time and space in ways deeply influ- enced but not entirely determined by social power relations. From acting to soccer, from martial arts to ballet, from battling to lovemaking, the development of new embodied techniques continually demands new mappings and un- derstandings of the body. Every technique has its roots in the human body—our capacities for rhythm, speech, vocalization, movement, empathy, imagination, and vastly more.

At moments of great distress or joy, people reach out to find something bigger than themselves, to bring them be- yond the current moment into a timeless experience. This urge often takes the form of a prayer. When praying, a person faces the world by connecting with oneself, thus understanding something significant about the nature of being. It is an act of moral and conceptual introspection, allowing time to slow down and attention to flow inwards. A person can express the most intimate relationship to existence through these deeds, channel trust, doubts, awe and love, acceptance, and protest.



Our bodies are defined and margined by the boundaries of our skin, within the limits of our thought. Within the lines of clothing, edges of walls, houses, neighbourhoods, cities, countries. From one point of view, borders are marked lines in the ground and define political, social, and economic activities. From another perspective, boundaries are mental objects of dominant discursive processes that have led to the fencing and separation of space and people from each other. External forces - imperial authorities and international organizations divided the Middle East after the First World War.

The discussions took place around a round European table, far from the living area and without any connection to the ethnosociological mosaic that has maintained an internal, fragile, and delicate balance for centuries.

The project seeks to give voice to various forms of thought within the country's northern borders, learn, listen, think, and even challenge boundaries. The project deals with the old and the new.



A body can think. A body can disassemble. Can bend point of view. Resonate. Can listen and ask. It can be perfect in its imperfection. A body can travel in time. A body can be cultural, political, personal. It could be a rock. Can tell a story, be tagged, pray to the wall, be hurt. A body Can sing an old song.

The project will trace and embody the various aspects of movements and techniques as tools to human expression. Different corporal aesthetics, rhythms, iconographies, texts, and songs reflect the tradition and daily life of diverse cultures in northern Israel. What is the physical expression of human joy and awakening, sorrow and grief in different cultures? What is the politics of the gaze on the female body in the various cultures? On what common ground can it be said that other physical disciplines intersect like Muslim prayer with Hora dancing? Or the Druze blessing of peace and the Christian custom of crucifixion? How do different cultures perceive the place of the body in their narrative? What are the boundaries of our identity?




Michael (Misha) Getman



Collaborators (in progress) Songs and Borders is an international collaboration project, which brings together artists, intellectuals and people from Israel, Canada, Germany and Norway.

Choreography: Michael Getman
Assistant to the choreographer and dramaturg: Yael Venezia
Research & Composing: Dániel Péter Biró
Singers: Neue Vocalsolisten
Costumes: Renee van Ginkel                                                                         
Puppet and set designer:Ma'ayan Tsameret                                              
​Art objects: Ayelet Adiv                                                             

Production: Mia Chaplin                                                                       
Managment: Zachi Choen                                                                     
Web design & Video editing: Idan Herson                                        
International Communications & Development: Katherina Vasiliadis

Supported by the Clore Center for the Performing Arts (IL)
The Pais Lottery Foundation (IL)
The Ministry of Sport and Culture in Israel
The Choreographers Association (IL)
Zygota Productions (IL)    
Goethe Institut (IL, DE)
In collaboration with the Neue Vocalsolisten (DE)

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Artistic Team


Choreographer and Performer, born in Israel to Russian-Jewish parents Dora & Zaxharia Getman, Michael Getman is interested in understanding and examining the relationship between our corporal body, it’s conceptual thought, us, and the reality which surrounds us. At the age of 17 Michael Getman joined the young Bat Sheva Ensemble, artistic director Naomi Perlov. Following Naharin’s invitation, he than joined the Bat Sheva Dance Company, artistic director Ohad Naharin. In 1999 Michael Getman Joined The Ballet Freiburg Pretty Ugly, Directed by Amanda K Miller. Between the years 1995 to 2007 he worked as a professional dancer, experienced and experimented with various creative styles and work methods.  Since 2006 Getman is based in Israel and working in the field of Choreography, Theatre and Performance.  Michael Getman has been creating throughout the years numerous projects and choreographic works. He is commissioned as a freelance choreographer, utilizing various forms of choreographic expressions in various venues and structures. 

Michael Getman received a scholarship from the American Israel Cultural Foundation for promising young Choreographers in 2006. He has been awarded choreographic prizes in intentional competitions: International Choreography Contest Cross Connection Ballet, Copenhagen, Denmark in 2008 and in the No Ballet International Choreographic Contest, Ludwigshafen, Germany in 2014. Michael Getman continues his artistic search and choreographic exploration by collaborating with various artists from the field of Theatre, Dance, Music, Literature and the Visual Arts.


Michael Getman 


Zachi Cohen was born in Israel in 1984. At the age of 17, he joined the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (then) directed by Rami Beer. In 2005, he began his career as an independent dancer and worked with renowned choreographers from all around the world, such as Barak Marshal (UAS/IL), Karl Schreiner (AT) and more. Alongside his dancing career, Zachi has established his artistic management activities and produced cultural events in the fields of dance and other performing arts, and  is also involved in the production of educational activities and in community work. In 2008, he launched his own production office - Come and See - Culture and Production, which produces and supports performing arts events, and helps in promoting independent choreographers and companies in Israel and advises them on management, entrepreneurship, marketing and branding aspects.     

In 2013, Zachi was selected as artistic director of the Clore Center for the Performing Arts in northern Israel to rebuild, guide and promote the center’s artistic program. In 2019 he becomes the CEO of the non-profit association Zygota, which initiates a wide range of cultural events for audiences of all ages and populations across Israel. He holds a Masters of Law degree in Law and Technology from the University of Haifa, Israel, and a Digital Marketing Certificate from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Currently he provides strategic and general consulting to artists with respect to fundraisings and sponsoring cooperation’s. As his artistic projects have a distinct social hue, he constantly strives towards bridging the two worlds of business and art.    

Zachi Cohen


They are researchers, discoverers, adventurers and idealists. Their partners are specialist ensembles and radio orchestras, opera houses and the free theater scene, electronic studios and countless organizers of contemporary music festivals and concert series in the world. The Neue Vocalsolisten established as an ensemble specializing in the interpretation of contemporary vocal music in 1984. Founded under the artistic management of Musik der Jahrhunderte, the vocal chamber ensemble has been artistically independent since the year 2000. Each of the seven concert and opera soloists, with a collective range reaching from coloratura soprano over countertenor to "basso profondo", shapes the work on chamber music and the co-operation with the composers and other interpreters through his/her distinguished artistic creativity.

The ensemble’s chief interest lies on research: exploring new sounds, new vocal techniques and new forms of articulation, whereby great emphasis is placed on establishing a dialogue with composers. Each year, the ensemble premiers about twenty new works. Central to the group’s artistic concept are the areas of music theater and the interdisciplinary work with electronics, video, visual arts and literature, as well as the juxtaposition of contrasting elements found in ancient and contemporary music.

Neue Vocalsolisten
musical ensemble

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