B>meeting Cluster Edition 2020: the Jerusalem experience by Avital Eden

Avital Eden, the Jerusalem cluster leader

The B>Meeting Cluster Edition, an event created by BIDE Barcelona in 2020 was a mix format event connecting 5 cities in 3 continents, through a presencial and a virtual platform. The cities were Jerusalem, London, Mexico City and New York City.  During the 4 days of celebration of B>Meeting, more than 60 professionals from these cities were connected with Barcelona, researching, raising questions, making proposals and creating choreographies related to our theme of Performing Gender.

The event was coordinated by Sebastian Garcia Ferro from La Caldera Barcelona, and in Jerusalem, the event was coordinated by Avital Eden from Mash Dance House. We asked Avital how was this experience and she told us everything about this experience.

How was it organizing a dance event during the pandemic in Jerusalem? 

The Jerusalem participants watching the daily sharing practices with others clusters

We had a feeling of walking through fog. It was a time when all the dance institutions were closed, and with covid-19 restrictions it did not seem it would be possible to get together and dance. I had two channels in which I had to operate in the context of covid-19 regulations.

Preparation of the dance event with the greatest chance of being held especially after we experienced the cancellation of Blanding in May 2020. I asked to limit the registration to a group of ten, including me. Machol Shalem, our amazing hosts of the event, led by Gabby Foster, chose the largest studio that there will be no problem of gathering according to the most stringent regulations, and we kept dynamic communication with the registrants.

On a personal level, I isolated myself and my children, 14 days before the event, to make sure that I will not have restrictions on leaving the house. It felt that dance and creation are finding a way to exist through Bide Cluster edition and I was grateful to be a part of it.   Jerusalem participants watching the daily sharing with the others clusters

How was the Jerusalem experience during the Bmeeting Cluster Edition?

The Jerusalem participants sharing practices at Mash Dance House

The first feeling was as if walking into a dream island in which dance can happen. I did not experience dancing with a mask before and thought it was not possible but found out it gave an intimate feeling of myself inside of the group. I did not think the group would be able to save the distance of two meters distance between one another, but after the first warm up, when I saw the dancers were not allowing themselves to move because of the fear of not keeping distance, I suggested that we will refer in our movement in space, to two meters that surround each dancer as part of the body with which he moves in space. It gave a different dance experience.

In the long term of the event, it deepened the connection between the participants because there was an awareness of both the personal self within the space and the personal space of each dancer.

How was the participation of the dancers in Jerusalem during the event and what stage of the B<Lab did they like the most?

The beginning was a bit rough. I came with high energies as I knew the Bide way of warming up as we are in a dance party. The Israeli group was heavier in terms of energy, I did not give up, knowing how fun is important for losing up, but also involved the participants through the warmup so each one can guide the group. That enriched the warming up possibilities and took the group to suiting an amount of energy.

Same happened with the B>lab, I kept the group in following the guidelines of the Blab, although it was not easy because it was holding something with order only I knew it will lead to results as Bide guidelines work, but our amazing participants cooperated and by the end of the first day, I had a feeling each one of us disconnected from the patterns of dancing together as we knew it, and welcomed the new ideas of body movement that appeared through the Blabs experience.

The group liked most the stage that happened to us after the lunch break; in which we were collecting ideas of what to deepen the research and suddenly all that happened through the day connected and we experienced new discoveries of our dancing body in person and as a group.

How was the integration between the participants in Jerusalem and the participants in the other clusters?  How was the networking?

Exchange of postcards between participants from different cities

The integration was super, I wish we had more of that. I was amazed how participants worldwide influenced in person different participants, by their ideas. Personal various ideas found their way to each other in a way that at the end of each day participants had different memories of sentences that were said through integration. The networking was good, maybe too short.

How the Performing Gender theme was explored, what were the main references and inspirations?

The gender theme was explored in our group with a new thought of disconnecting sexuality from the perspective of external view to a personal view of the dancing body itself. That refreshened stereotypical thinking thought and gave a stage for new dancing movement to happen.

What was the most memorable moment for you and for the participants? 

When we decided to divide the group into two, half watching have dancing, letting the body dance its own understanding of what we researched, then giving personal feedback. it unleashed the personal aspect and turned mental ideas into movement.

What were the lessons learned?

In the process, I took the liberty of deciding how to lead the cluster, such as to let more participants do a B>lab and shorten the lab time, or not to film especially for sharing because everyone was tired, and instead sent from shootings through the day.

If a new Bmeeting Cluster Edition is carried out in 2021, what would be the suggestions of Jerusalem and Avital for the event?

I would do more one on one integration with other clusters, and more personal meetings like the networking. Also, more warm up together with a different cluster. It is always sad when it ends- but the ideas keep on floating, maybe another closer, one on one, by participants worldwide, exchanging their personal experience.

I thank you for being a part of the cluster edition, I feel the cluster leaders and Bide team gave an outstanding event, before, during and after, it was innovative, technical and by content.


The Jerusalem participants at Mash Dance House


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