This past week was only a half-week of dancing, and then we went on a trip to Jerusalem for Wednesday and Thursday. Though I’ve been there six or seven times before, I never fail to be struck with awe at the beauty and complexity of this amazing city. The day we went to the Western Wall, it was sunny and beautiful. I really enjoyed being there with some of my non-Jewish friends here–it seemed like they were really moved and interested, and their experience informed my own.
We also went to some holy Christian sites that I have never been to before, like the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which was so magnificent and had many different cathedrals, alcoves, and holy objects. Candles burned all over, and I had this feeling like I really traveled back in time thousands of years, and was walking in the shoes of some ancient person. We also saw the view of the Old City from the Mount of Olives–I’ve never been this view before, because it is from the Eastern side of Jerusalem. It’s such an interesting area, because the area is primarily Arab and Muslim, but the mountain is holy to Christians (Jesus stood on the top and wept over the destruction of the temple), and it is also a famous Jewish cemetery.
This is what I love about Jerusalem…it is so many layers upon layers of faiths and history. Of course, this can unfortunately cause disagreement and conflict, especially in the Old City, when holy sites literally site on top of each other. I try not to think about this conflict when admiring the amazing views though, and just take it all in.
I stayed behind the rest of the group to spend another day in Jerusalem with a friend. On Fridays there is an art fair in the center of town, and I had to contain my excitement of seeing the array of beautiful jewelry and artwork. I also went through the shuk (market) a few hours before Shabbat, which is INSANE. Prices go down on Friday afternoons, and everyone is doing their last-minute shopping–slightly overwhelming. I got a whole-wheat challah–Taim maod!
This week it’s back to hard core dancing. I am going to start rehearsing the piece I’m making for our big show that we can choreograph for. I’m using the music from the “Atonement” soundtrack, which has a typewriter sound in the background. My ideas have to do with communicating over long-distances and the pros and cons of technology today. I had an informal meeting with dancers last week about my ideas, and I’m really excited to start working.
Rebecca Crystal graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Dance. She is currently participating in the Dance Journey program with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and blogging about her experiences at http://artinmotionblog.blogspot.com.