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Songs & Borders

أغاني وحدود

Being a son of immigrants, I am still figuring out what it means to be Israeli. I am not exceptionally different in my multi-identity, and neither is Israel. The issue of identity has been the issue of the twentieth century. Israel is a tiny country. However, understanding its complex narrative and diverse inhabitants takes more than a lifetime. It is a land with no man's land agenda. Borders made on the map around a round European table soon became mental boundaries between communities, families, and individuals. In Songs and Borders, my main interest is people and their specific self-identity and genealogy. When individuals and communities are 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. Therefore, I have been working in the country's north for the last year, researching historical narratives and political situations and observing how these are embedded and expressed. 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 diverse communities that share the same space. We ask to challenge and redefine structures and concepts of borders, borders between different communities, within communities, and within ourselves. We ask to address the concerns of identity and the archetypal figure of the human form through the guise of geographical, social, and political events. To create and inhabit a space that lends itself to individual expression within a communal creation.

Photo: Rony Bitton

The Project

The North of Israel is home to disparate Ethnic and religious communities: Palestinian Muslims (Sunni), Lebanese Maronite Christians, Arameans, Syrian Druze, Circassians, Bedouins, Sephardic, and Ashkenazi Jews. These populations exist in a common geographical space but a reality of multiple narratives, tension, and mental boundaries.  Songs and Borders involves six voices who represent their different local folkways. The work traces various aspects of movement and human expression, gradually unraveling the unique layers and narratives carried and expressed through the lived body. Each woman embodies her personal story and reflects on her culture. We consider/question our points of view and sense of belonging through text in local dialects, physical expression, singing, and visual arts actions. Together, we learn how knowledge is produced and disseminated and challenge their individual and collective boundaries. We examine narratives that differ in their political landscape but share human urgency and agency. We ask how to share specific mutual historical events that vary in their meaning and try to figure out our connection to the fallen, the land, loyalty, war, and peace. My artistic agenda was to work with non-professionals. Only there can we get closer to the truth about the place and life. I chose to work with women as they are the silent guardians of the tribe, mercifully carrying the next generation and working to change the fate of their children. The interdisciplinary work includes contemporary composition, choreography, storytelling, video, and audio documentation with ethnographic and ethnomusicology research. The process and the resulting work will allow for a melting pot of cultures, languages, and mediums, from which a new cultural/social understanding will be forged.

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Borders& Boundaries 

Our bodies are defined and margined by the boundaries of our skin, within the limits of our thoughts. Within the lines of clothing, edges of walls, houses, neighborhoods, 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. The project seeks to give voice to various forms of thought within the country's northern borders, learn, listen, think, and challenge boundaries. 


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 be cultural, political, or 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 for human expression. Different corporal aesthetics, rhythms, iconographies, texts, and songs reflect the tradition and daily life of diverse cultures in northern Israel. Where are memories in the body? What is the politics of the gaze on the female body in the various cultures? How do different cultures perceive the place of the body in their narrative? What is the physical expression of human joy, awakening, sorrow, and grief in other cultures?


At moments of great distress or joy, people reach out to find something bigger than themselves, to bring them beyond 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 inward. A person can express the most intimate relationship to existence through these deeds, channel trust, doubts, awe and love, acceptance, and protest. 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 influenced but not entirely determined by social power relations. From acting to soccer, martial arts to ballet, battling to lovemaking, the development of new embodied techniques continually demands new mappings and understandings of the body. Every method has roots in the human body—our capacities for rhythm, speech, vocalization, movement, empathy, imagination, and more. 


Artistic Team


Michael Getman 


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.


Zachi Cohen

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.    

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Neue Vocalsolisten
musical ensemble


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.

Selected Reviews;

23-05-2023, Teatroecritica (it)

15-05-2023, mentinfuga (it)


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: Gloria de Angeli

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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