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WINTER 2004-2005


Eskesta Success Continues

Eskesta in its new work, "Nafas."  Dancers: Gilat Vayenne and Ohad Wurkana; choreography: Ruth Eshel;
Late this past summer it was South Africa.  More recently, it was the well-known Suzanne Delal Center for the Performing Arts in Tel Aviv, where it was one of the invited troupes to appear in Israel’s most distinguished dance event.  The Eskesta Dance Theater, under the artistic direction of Dr. Ruth Eshel, founder of the troupe of Ethiopian-origin dancers, continues to impress audiences and critics alike around the world. 

The two-week trip to South Africa took the dancers, all of whom are either students or graduates of the University, to a half-dozen different cities in that country.  They also appeared in Soweto and other localities where international dance groups do not normally frequent.  Their performances were not limited to the south of Africa, since their appearance on the prestigious TV series “180 Degrees” brought Eskesta into living rooms throughout the continent.

This was not, though, the first time that the troupe, which Eshel put together for the first time eight years ago, performed in Africa.  Audiences in Ethiopia and Eritrea have in the past seen Eskesta perform traditional shoulder dances (the meaning of the dance company’s name in Amharic), accompanying ancient Jewish liturgies, and folklore-inspired artistic dances.  The troupe, which operates within the framework of the Faculty of Humanities, has appeared at festivals in France, Germany, and Italy, and also performed in the Ukraine and in the United States.

“International Exposure” was the project name given by the Suzanne Delal Center to enable the country’s foremost troupes to show what they have before an international audience of festival directors, choreographers, and other dance people from abroad.  “Nafas,” meaning wind or spirit in Amharic, is the name of Eskesta’s new program, presented at this year’s festival, which took place the first week of December. 

With original music composed by the Music Department’s chairman, Dr. Oded Zahavi, “Nafas” consists of a string of gentle solos that feed on images, customs, and the special movement lexicon of the Ethiopian community, according to Ruth Eshel. The work, she continues, is another stage in the troupe’s creative journey to seek ways of modern artistic expression.  The music by the award-winning composer Zahavi is based on words and tunes in Amharic.  

Eskesta in its new work, “Nefas.” Dancers: Gilat Bayenne and Ohad Wurkana; choreography: Ruth Eshel; music: Oded Zehavi.


In This Issue:

President’s Focus
Continuity, Change, and Social Responsibility

Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, a Former Negotiator, Reflects on Israel-Jordan Relations
at a Conference Here Marking a Decade of a Formal Peace
Former Jordanian Minister and Negotiator Heads Delegation from Jordan Here

Unique ‘Open Apartment’ Project Benefits Community and Students

University Obtains Its First Biotech Patent in the U.S.

Researcher Develops Computerized Handwriting Evaluation System

Prof. Yossi Ben-Artzi Named Rector of the University

Prof. David Faraggi—Deputy Rector

What If a Tsunami Hit? First Program of Its Kind in Israel Dealing with Mass Disaster

Student Builds Internet Site of Never-Recorded Israeli Army Songs

University Campus Gradually Becoming Wireless

Honors and Appointments



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