dancing in israel from the inside out

a journey

sounds of israel

this is a collection of sounds extracted from all of the video footage I took in Israel. all of the audio clips are playing simultaneously like an assemblage of sorts: having tea with the bedouins, describing to them how my granny made tea the same way, only with ice. birds in the desert. a bus ride to the train station. the sound of prayer i caught along the seashore coming from a mosque in jaffa. the voice of one of our teachers guiding us through class and the sound of our feet moving across the floor. my friend and i singing andrew bird’s tenuousness while watching the sunset at sea. singing and clapping drifting through the walls of a synagogue during a wedding near the center of tel aviv. children playing at a park in the neve tzedek neighborhood. the directors of the batsheva ensemble talking about gaga. biking through tel aviv. laying by the sea at night. ohad’s voice discussing the company’s upcoming tour to Basil after a recent bombing. the sound of my footsteps walking through old jaffa, the famous 5000 year old port. my keys shuffling as i opened the door and walked into my first apartment.



shabbat shalom

the story of when i first arrived begins with my name.

after 2 days of travel, i was standing in line at passport control and the woman behind the glass noticed me shamelessly smoking my pink electronic cigarette. she pointed me out from the line among my eager and weary fellow travelers and demanded my presence at the booth. i walked up with a timid smile. she asked for the device. and for some reason, i decided instead to show her how it worked. she laughed and asked for my passport. then she looked up and told me, “i am giving you your hebrew name. it’s ShayLi.” Shay (pronounced like shy) and Li (pronounced leigh) and together it means “a gift for me.” she then welcomed me to Israel, told me i would love it here and recommended that i stay longer.

it is now the end of week 5. i have a home and a bike. and the best way i can describe the first few weeks is to share my playlist and tell you that i experienced much of it like a silent film.

Week one: The Shin’s Oh Inverted World and Wincing the Night Away.

Week two: The Morning Bender’s Big Echo.

Week three and four: Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto.

like one who wears a jacket or gathers with friends for warmth in winter, my head phones seemed to serve as a way to be alone among all that was so chillingly fresh and new with the warmth of good company. i relaxed into it, made my path along the sea to everywhere (mainly to the grocery store, the pharmacy, and the suzanne dellal) and did my best to become a version of Harriet Martineau’s objective observer and just soak it all in. for according to Harriet “no traveler seeing things through author spectacles can see them as they are.”  which is, in part, why i took so long to write. for the brilliance of this vague, unbiased approach (akin to that of italo calvino’s exactitude), is that not only does it describe the quantum possibilities available when the object of focus is left free from perspectives and therefore assertions, but then life itself can take form beyond a limited view. And this … so far, is the closest i can get to describing my path into Gaga.

thank you for my future

There are those who dare to dream, and there are those who dare to believe in them. And this is a list of those very people, some of whom I have never met, who dared to believe in mine. It is because of these individuals among the priceless blessings of countless others, that my life has been forever changed. It is because of them that I now set out into the world. It is a gift, a treasure, and a miracle to feel that no matter how far the stars may seem while gazing up above, that if one is to at least reach out, they may very well take hold.

I thank you Helena Teply-Figman, Jes Gearing, Jill Loftis, Shannon Hornsby, Theresa Scocca, Leigh Allen, Micah Intrator, Renee Suss, Marilyn Del Vecchio, Chris Vitello, Jessica, Bonny Branch, Betsy MacMichael and Family, John Wendelbo, Geoffrey Zeger, Steven Samuels, Sally Somers Austin, Agnieszka Kokot, Lucia Dev Vecchio Gray, Joseph Saponaro, Bepi Pinner, Dianne Freund, Mike Krajewski, Meadow Overstreet, Jenny Boully, Nicolle Wasserman, Desiree Walker, Elizabeth Dixon, Elizabeth Weddendorf, Liza Deck, Melissa Eggleston, Heather Gordon Lawson, Amelia Wallace, Kerry Cantwell, Vanessa Fassie, Chuck Roberson, Alex Betka, Erica Price, Katherin Devine, Adrienne Brown, Deanna Ovenden, Claudia Warburg, Shahar, Shimila Keenum, Alexander Boone, Jessie Knight Walker, Tony Bosco, Robin Gallant, Hannah McClure Chalut, Christopher F. McGratty, Mothiur Rahman, Boleyn Willis-Zeger, Theresa Mcaskill, Ambrielle Moore, Mutsuko Hayashi, Toby Mangel, Alicia Gonzalez, Laura Taylor-Jensen, Bob Ross, Margaret Wright, Hannah Elkin, Tammy Moser, Brad Powell, Jennifer Levenbook, AJCG, Edward Comerford, Elise Bernlohr, Emily Dysart, Thomas Overfelt, Ruby Timberlake, Mary Best Bova, Shirley Eng, Steven Pueblo, Marla Kasper, Justin & Cassie Belcher, Kim Dupre, Nina Diva, Barry Wright, Jobina Bardai, Linda Hester, Sonnet Wright, LaShawn Jones, Kelly Dalton, Bryan Wright, Eric Palkovic, Bryn Hess, Ashley Palmer, Anna Lena, Michael Spencer, Niekko Chin, Nikki Free, Allie Mullen, Sheridin Wright, Jenefer Davies, Doron Raz Avraham, Frances and all the magic in the universe.