Stories soothe the soul

Kara Willingham

A large audience welcomed “Neshama, Stories of the Soul” performed by the Keshet Chaim dance ensemble at the Saddleback College McKinney Theatre, Nov. 18.

When the lights dimmed, the audience became hushed and listened to the music. The show started at the beginning of time with dancers symbolizing Adam and Eve.

“The show carries you from the beginning of the universe in the eyes of a Jew soul,” said Eytan Avisar, artistic director. “The costumes have been made resembling biblical images. Every piece is hand made and hand-painted.”

The cast of colorfully dressed dancers captivated the audience with flowing movements and fancy footwork. There were 300 different costumes in the show.

Each scene depicted a different historical or biblical story explaining to the audience the pains and joys of Jewish people.”It’s the history of Judaism, the story of the Bible and Israel,” said Leah Bleiweis, administrator of the company. “It’s about history, strength and survival.”

A few of the scenes were sung by Noa Dori, a singer whose voice has been showcased in many movies including, “I am Legend” and “Lions and Lambs.”

The non-profit American-Israeli contemporary dance troupe began in 1983 and has become the major company of Israeli folk dancers.

“The mission of the company is to educate the public about Judaism, Islam and tolerance,” Bleiweis said. “This piece shows that everyone has history and struggles and we still survive.”

Saddleback students that attended the show took the time to appreciate a different culture, music and style of dancing.

“The show is pretty good, and I like the costumes,” said Hailie Nguyen, 20, chemistry. “I think the singer has a beautiful voice.”

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