by Christina Massad
Well-respected and well-liked, Ido Tadmor is a contemporary Israeli choreographer and dancer. Born into a family of dancers and academics, Jersulam-native Tadmor began his studies at the rather late age of nineteen with the Bat-Dor Dance School in Tel Aviv. Prior to joining the school, Tadmor had traveled with his family, and served in the Israeli army. Despite his late start in dance, Tadmor joined the Bat-Dor dance company in 1983, and became lead dancer after only six months of study. The school and company had been largely funded by Baroness Bethsabee Rothschild since its beginning in 1967, and the artistic approach was steeped primarily in modern dance, but also drew heavily on classical ballet. Unfortunately, the school suffered financially when its sole patron, the Baroness died in 1999.
After studying for two years at the Bat-Dor School, Tadmor joined the foremost dance company in Israel called the Bat-Sheva Dance Company, which is also based in Tel Aviv. The Bat-Sheva dance troupe, like the Bat-Dor School, was largely funded by Baroness Rothschild, but was catapulted into greater success when renowned choreographer, Martha Graham became its artistic adviser in the late nineteen-sixties and early seventies.
Since the early 2000’s, Tadmor has danced with and directed many professional dance companies. Not only does he dance and choreograph, Tadmor also serves as a judge in professional dance competitions in Israel and as artistic director of competitions and festivals, internationally. His works have won numerous awards, and he has been invited to perform and teach all over the world. His influential teaching has been observed in Israel, America, Poland, Amsterdam, and Rome among other places.
During the past three decades, Tadmor has represented the State of Israel around the world as an “Ambassador of Dance.” His work is more than just movement for dance; it goes deeper than that and touches the human soul. He is passionate and extremely skilled in his craft, and his passion for dance has influenced the world of dance in a great way.
Tadmor came to Kennesaw State University’s Department of Dance in Georgia for the first time in the Fall of 2014. During his initial visit, he choreographed a beautiful, contemporary work entitled “Black Mourning” for four female dancers to portray the war overseas. He received great praise for his work, and was invited back to KSU Dance in the Fall of 2015.
During this year, I had the honor of performing his work, “The Empty Room,” which was a duet between myself and a male dancer. This contemporary style dance challenged me and my dance partner because normally, dance is perceived as something so beautiful, but for this particular dance, we had to let ourselves “be ugly.” It was the raw and “ugly” emotive gestures that made this dance beautiful as, through them, we sought to portray the most basic human tendencies.
This work is about the evolution and different stages of a relationship from its beginning, to its end, and everything in-between. The dance also incorporates another art form; the art of acting. It was our job to convince our audience that we were in a relationship full of flirting, fighting, and loving. In just under twenty minutes, we had to travel through an entire lifetime as a couple. An interesting aspect of the dance was the aural emphasis. Although dance is generally a silent art accompanied by music, this unique dance included rhythmic speech in a made-up language otherwise known as gibberish. Tadmor used gibberish rather than Hebrew or English so that wherever his dance is performed, everyone is able to understand the basic conversational insinuations.
“The Empty Room” took an innovative leap for the dance world because it uniquely combined dance, acting, speech, music, and silence. It inspired a vast array of emotional responses from the audience. At times, the audience laughed rightfully so at our ridiculous antics, and as the story unfolded they were moved to tears of sadness. A truly good dance is able to well up a mixture of emotions and challenge not only the dancers, but the audience as well. Tadmor’s brilliant choreography, especially highlighted in “The Empty Room,” is integral in the thriving and evolving world of dance.