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Ma'agal 2015 ("Ma'agal, the next step in Israeli dance education") was held from Tuesday, May 26-Thursday, May 28 at the Brandeis-Bardin Campus of American Jewish University. The teaching faculty consisted of Erica Goldman and Caren Heller with assistance by Sydney Orenstein and Jason Gelfat. Participants included approximately twenty Israeli dance teachers from ten different camps, representing all regions of the United States and several camping movements including Ramah, URJ, Young Judaea and independent organizations. Also in attendance were teachers from several schools and congregations in California, Virginia, and Illinois.
Ma’agal was a series of workshops on various topics interspersed with hours dedicated to dancing and learning a repertoire of dances the instructors could bring back to their camps. Topics discussed in the workshops included the history of Israeli dancing, tricks and techniques for effective and engaging teaching, connections to Judaism and Jewish values through Israeli dance, and instruction and practice for using Israeli dance in performances such as a “rikkudiah” festival at camp. Participants were also given the opportunity to share with and learn from one another.
A highlight of the schedule was the community dance party on Wednesday night, May 27. This was an event that was open to the larger Alonim and Los Angeles Israeli dance communities. Ma’agal participants got a chance to witness first-hand what a successful camp Israeli dance program could look like as well as the opportunity to meet and talk with many campers about their experiences learning dance at Alonim over the years. At the same time, the Alonim community had a chance to come together and enjoy an evening of dancing at camp outside of the summer season.