Autobiographical Statement

I was born and raised in Messilot, a kibbutz in northern Israel. I encountered music at the age of five when I began playing the recorder, and more deeply at the age of nine when I began playing the violin. Very quickly I recognized my musical interests, and my talents did not go unnoticed. The kibbutz provided funds for me to study in Tel Aviv with renowned violin teacher Yair Kless and composer Shlomo Yoffe from the age of 12 to 17.

Although I had danced folk dance as a child, I came to artistic dance late in life, first encountering the art at 17 when I saw the Bat Sheva Dance Company. Their work blew me away. I saw this performance as an alluring invitation into a world of fantasy and self-definition. I began taking dance classes at the local high school on the kibbutz and made my first drafts of choreography.

Shortly thereafter, the legendary Gertrud Kraus happened to be in attendance at the kibbutz as I was showing my first dance work, to music by Prokofiev, in public. Ms. Kraus took me under her wing, inviting me to audition for a dance scholarship with the America-Israeli Cultural Foundation, which I received in 1971. At the time, I was conscripted with the Israeli Army. Through the support of the scholarship, upon completion of basic training I was stationed near Tel Aviv, permitting me to start taking dance classes on a regular basis. On my final day of service with the Army in 1974, I was invited to join the Bat Sheva Dance Company, dancing in works by Martha Graham, Kurt Jooss, Glenn Tetley, Talley Beatty, Donald McKayle and Norman Morrice, to name a few. The company took me out of Israel for the first time in my life, as we toured throughout Europe and to the United States.

In 1978, I was awarded a rare America-Israel Cultural Foundation provided me with a rare scholarship to come to New York City for one year to further my studies in dance and choreography. I studied at the Martha Graham School and the Alvin Ailey School, while slowly shifting my attention to ballet, concentrating my studies with renowned teacher Maggie Black. After returning to Israel to dance with Bat Sheva Dance Company for an additional two years, I returned to New York in 1981, dancing with Joyce Trisler Dance Company, Feld Ballets/NY and Garden State Ballet, among others. In 1983, I returned to Israel where I founded Tamar Ramle Dance Company, considered to be the beginning of the fringe movement in the Israeli dance scene. My works concentrated on site-specific/outdoor performance.  In 1985, I returned to New York and focused my attention on developing my choreographic craft. In 1988, I returned for an extended stay in Israel, where I directed the Tamar Jerusalem Dance Company. I returned to New York in 1988 for good, and in 1989 founded ZviDance.

My goal with ZviDance is to bring a passionate vision of community to audiences in a world full of conflict. ZviDance is a collaborative alliance among my artists, celebrating our diversity by melding movement genres into the a distinct dance vocabulary. It is my goal to immerse our audiences into the depth of the human experience.

These days, I find myself in an interesting place with my craft. I certainly gain personal confidence with my ability to construct work. Nevertheless, I feel restless and unable to rest on past achievements, pushing myself to places where I am “in the dark” and in an experimental mode. I find the creative process to be the most powerful force in my life. While making new movement phrases, I shed inherited sequences imprinted in my memory, such as those in ballet, folk dance and numerous contemporary genres, and in perhaps a somewhat awkward way, research the invention of new ones with my collaborators. My starting point is the body. I may relate the body to other realms of experience, but I always return to it. I aspire to make my work reflect on the now. Lately, I have conceived and choreographed projects involving technology as an observation of new patterns and rituals in the contemporary sensibility. My goal was to reflect on new realities available to performance through technology, that in turn allows for new identities, new communities and new exposure. In my latest work ZOOM, I spent many hours of research on social networking sites, observing new ways of sharing intimacy and connectivity, but also new ways for promotion and marketing. I integrated these concepts into the work and structured it in a fragmented way, assimilating an experience like opening new links on Facebook.

Over the last ten years, I have been slowly evolving my creative process to allow for greater collaboration with the dancers and project designers. I have shifted my role from a "knowing" director to a collaborator seeking to discover the evolution of ideas. I have incorporated a system of critical response and feedback that are now essential for me in the creation of new movement vocabulary and the overall shape of a given work. This loose system allows me to invent a new creative process tailored to each work, and a flow of creative intelligence from an entire team. The more deeply I observe the creative process, the more mysterious making something from nothing becomes. I feel lucky to have these opportunities to immerse in invention, and a remarkable group of collaborators that brings it all together.

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