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Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Feel Good News:
Birthright inspires dancer to join Israel Ballet

After going on birthright israel in 2004, ballet dancer Lisa Oberman knew immediately where she wanted to pursue her professional dance career.

Now almost 20, Oberman is making aliyah and has joined the Israel Ballet, the country’s only major classical ballet company.

“I fell in love with Israel and knew in my heart that’s where I wanted to dance,” she says.

Joining the Israel Ballet is the culmination of a lifelong dream to dance professionally, says Oberman, who attended the Kirov Academy of Ballet (now the Universal Ballet Academy) in Washington D.C., and danced with the U.S.A. Ballet in Illinois.

“I’ve been on stage since I was three years old. At four, I played the lead in Grease. Going away to a ballet school when I was 16 was the natural thing to do.”

Oberman’s mother Deborah, says that when Lisa was young, she took her to see Karen Kain in the Nutcracker Suite. “She turned to me and said ‘One day, that will be me.’ I knew then where her future lay.”

Lisa Oberman credits her dance teacher and mentor Tatiana Stepanova, of the Stepanova Dance Academy, for helping her focus on ballet when she was 14.

“She became my teacher when I was 10, and I still train with her. She could see I was driven, and she encouraged me to become a [classical] ballet dancer.”

She knew she made the right decision about dancing with the Israel Ballet when she met the dance company’s co-founder and co-artistic director, Berta Yampolsky, who was once a prima ballerina with the Odessa State Ballet.

“She went out of her way to make sure I was comfortable,” Oberman says. “She is warm and kind, and ensures that there is no competition among the peers. They are like family to each other. There is so much happiness in the field of art in Israel.”

Dancing is a lifestyle, Oberman says.

“When I take a day off, I feel it. I take a 11/2 -hour class every day, and if I’m in a performance, I have a rehearsal,” she says.

“I also make sure I never eat too much. I eat a little bit at a time whenever I’m hungry because that is lighter on the stomach. To dance, I need to be thin, but I also need to be healthy and powerful.”

When she dances, she says, she speaks through her body.

“I convey a message [with my movements.] I don’t need to speak because the audience can see how I feel.”

Dina Gidron, regional director of the Israel Aliyah Centre, which is affiliated with the Jewish Agency for Israel, says it’s amazing to see how birthright israel can give young Jews such a strong connection with Israel.

“[Lisa] fell in love with Israel, and then she honed into her real passion. I give credit to birthright.”

Oberman says that by making aliyah, “I am following my dream. There are not a lot of teens in the ballet world, but I am committed.

“I’m also committed to living in Israel. When I walk around there I feel no fear. There is a sense of security there.”

The Canadian Jewish News:
Birthright inspires dancer to join Israel Ballet


muse said...

good story

Elaine said...

A wonderful story, so encouraging !! Every aliyah story I hear makes me want to shout, and cry, all at the same time !! I loved it !!

Evan said...

All right! So I wonder if she's single.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you even realised it but that is a very immodest picture you posted.

Mr Bagel said...

Muse: Thanks, good news is often over looked.

Elaine: It recieves so little attention, and on the balance of the media, a lot of people I feel may receive very slanted views of the prospects of Aliyah.

Evan: Well Evan, maybe you need to inquire discreetly?

Anon: Thank you for your opinion, but I consider the context of the picture, that she is is a Ballet dancer and that it is a postive news item rather than something orientated towards vulgarity and decided to use the picture. The 'immodesty' issue is I feel is an issue for the person who decides what to wear rather than those who try to force their ideas of what they consider appropriate. I myself and my wife would chose to dress more 'modestly' but as a dancer its hardly practical to wear a wrist to ankle bodysuit.

I do empathize with your 'modesty' issues and as a Jewish blogger I do try to keep a certain level of decency on this blog.

(This picture is from the Canadian Jewish News so perhaps you have bigger fish to fry?)

As for you anonymity, well I would normally give your comment the attention if deserves. None. But as you raise an issue that deserves commentary you now have my thoughts.

Sara with NO H said...

Aww...I LOVE this!!

sheli said...

my name is Sheli and im from Israel
I have to say that I love ths story
Israel is a place that makes me feel at home .
I loved the way she said everything.
Now that she is in the reality TV show [born to dance] and I watch it every week I can really say that I thnk she's the best dancer
I love the way she dances
and she's soo cute!!
I love her soo much =]

sheli said...

this* think*