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BGU Cancels Performance of Student Dance Troupe in Scotland Due to Security Concerns

BGU Cancels Performance of Student Dance Troupe in Scotland Due to Security Concerns

July 21, 2014

Leadership, Awards & Events

BGU’s student dance troupe, Pola, was the only Israeli group invited to perform at this summer’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. The students were scheduled to dance Aug. 9 to Aug. 12.

However, the University made the decision to pull participation of its dance company over concerns about plans by anti-Israel protesters.

“The personal safety of the members of the dance company is the most important factor and we will certainly not compromise on that in any way,” says BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi.

“We received warnings that their participation could endanger the dancers, therefore, in consultation with the relevant parties, we made the hard decision not to send the company to the planned performances in Edinburgh.

“It is a shame that this is the state of affairs – where artistic freedom of expression is being sorely tested. The company has no connection to politics, but everything has become highly politicized.”

The cancellation comes after the Israeli play “This City” by the Incubator Theater, which is funded by the Israeli government, was targeted in Edinburgh last week by protesters. The group currently is performing on the street while searching for a new venue.

Unfortunately, calls to boycott the BGU troupe’s performance is the latest in a growing worldwide movement, particularly strong in Great Britain and Europe, to isolate and punish Israel.

The Pola dance troupe is named after Paula Ben-Gurion, the American-born wife of first prime minister of Israel and founding father, David Ben-Gurion. Pola is comprised of 12 student dancers from BGU who are pursuing careers in medicine, science, engineering, physiotherapy, and more.

The dance troupe, sponsored by Suzanne Zlotowski, of the United Kingdom, and Adelene Zlotowski, Israel, and the Office of the Dean of Students, was supposed to perform its original piece, La Karina, created by Dedi Alofer, at the festival.

Three years in the making, the troupe has developed a unique international contemporary dance style distinct from the styles of other local dance companies. They dance to a thrilling soundtrack that merges Balkan and ancient Ladino music, with influences of the Levantine and the classics of Seville. The two combine to create a magical dance performance.