Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble is an American-Israeli contemporary dance troupe dedicated to celebrating the inclusive spirit of Jewish and Israeli culture throughout the world.
Keshet creates, develops and presents original stage productions that fuse contemporary Israeli dance with Jewish folk dance traditions from across the Diaspora. Through dance and music, the company explores the breadth of Jewish experience from around the world. It promotes tolerance and understanding, with educational programs in public and private schools. And it strives to keep Israeli folk dance alive by teaching people of all ages, in its community dance programs.
Israeli folk dance has a tradition that stretches back 4,000 years. But it was all but lost during the Diaspora. As Gurit Kadman, the mother of Israeli folk dancing, wrote:
Contemporary Israeli folk dance was born in the communal farms called kibbitzum. Jews from all over the world shared dance and music from their own backgrounds with one another. The energy and diversity of Israeli folk dance was democratic and inclusive. Everyone could participate. No one needed past dance experience. Everyone was encouraged to jump in, join the fun and celebrate.
Since 1983, Keshet has created work in Israeli folk dance. But over the years, the audience asked for more concert work. A new generation of dancers demanded more from the choreography. So KCDE began working with contemporary choreographers from Israel. It increased stipends for dancers. It began creating more new work, and revamping old work from the repertoire.
Keshet still stands for Israeli folk dance, but it also stands for contemporary Israeli dance that includes hip-hop, pop, jazz, ballet and other movement styles.