The Jews first became a "nation" in about 1300 B.C., following their exodus from Egypt under the leadership of Moses. But it wasn't until May 14, 1948, that Israel officially declared itself a self-governing state.
Every year since then, on the fifth day of the Jewish month Iyar, Jewish people everywhere have given thanks for Israel's independence by celebrating Yom Ha'atzmaut, or Israel Independence Day. And this year, Tucson's own Jewish Community Center will be hosting a big bash just for the occasion. You can see all kinds of Israeli crafts, enjoy an Israeli dance demonstration and workshop, and watch your kids go wild in jumping castles and a pool turned splash park. And don't forget the food--there'll be a wide variety of Israeli dishes available for sale at the JCC's own "mini-shuk," or outdoor market--just like the one in Jerusalem, only smaller. Finally, the main event of the evening will be a concert by vocalist Dganit Daddo and composer, producer and pianist Yuval K.dar, who've been performing traditional Israeli music--with a bit of a twist--together for the last seven years.
"This festival is always good to show the culture, the music, the traditions and the food of Israel," says Moshe Babel-Pour, the director of the JCC's Israel Center. "It's very important for us Israelis to celebrate this Independence Day, because in the end, Israel is the house for all the Jews. ... But we also want to bring the Israeli spirit to all the people here in Tucson ... This is something that we would like to share with the community."
The event is free. And, as Babel-Pour reminds us, "It's always good to learn about other cultures." So whether you're Jewish or not, come check it out. --A.M.
Tap dancing and classical music? They just don't go together ... or do they? Believe it or not, since the middle of the last century, there have been some people who consider the two genres a perfect pair. In fact, as early as the 1940s, renowned dancer Paul Draper was packing concert halls throughout the United States and Europe by tapping along to Bach, Scarlatti and others. And in 1952, classical composer Morton Gould wrote his "Tap Dance Concerto"--the very first composition of its kind--specifically to be played by a symphony orchestra while some talented tapper did his thing.
Lately, the concept of tap dancing to classical music has really taken off. In just the past few years, there have been numerous "tap concerti" written by up-and-coming composers. However, the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra thinks there's nothing like the original. That's why they'll be playing Gould's "Tap Dance Concerto" at their next concert.
Of course, they won't be playing alone--Sam Weber, one of the most talented tap dancers around right now, will be performing front and center. Weber has tapped with the greats and was the first tap dancer to receive a Bessie Award for outstanding creative achievement. At this Sunday's show, viewers can observe how his movement becomes part of the music, because specific dance moves are precisely choreographed to coincide with specific notes and rhythms.
"In this piece," says the orchestra's music director, Adam Boyles, "Gould brings out the many associations tap has with jazz, and the music has a jazzy quality throughout. What makes it so satisfying is that on the one hand, (Gould) gives the dancer a musical idiom with which he's familiar, and at the same time, he plays upon the classical conventions of the concerto."
The concert is $15, or $10 for seniors and students. Kids 6 and younger are free. --A.M.
It's that time of year again for alternative-rock station KFMA FM 92.1 to have its annual music festival, featuring a handful of big-name bands all performing in one day.
The gates open at the Pima County Fairgrounds at noon, and Arizona band Authority Zero will kick off the day at 1:15 p.m. Following will be Silversun Pickups at 2:10 p.m., synth-rock band The Bravery at 3:20 p.m., punk band Sum 41 at 4:30 p.m., metal rock band Chevelle at 5:40 p.m. and Chris Cornell--frontman of Soundgarden and Audioslave--at 7:05 p.m. The festival will wrap up with popular headlining hard-rock band The Used at 8:30 p.m.
KFMA marketing director Cindy Craig says that more than 12,000 people attended last year's KFMA Day, and that this year's festival will offer some exciting new aspects.
"The Zia Records tent will have all of the artists there signing autographs throughout the day, which will be really cool," says Craig.
Craig says that there will be numerous other sponsor tents, as well as the Fuse tent, which will be holding giveaways for Warped Tour tickets this summer. The festival will also feature a slingshot ride and a Hummer simulator from the National Guard.
Tickets are available at all Tucson area Catalina Mart locations for $20. Tickets can also be purchased at kfma.com or at the door. Call 880-5362 for more information. --K.H.
Most graduate students at the UA School of Dance have been preparing for the concert Over the Whelmed and Out of the Woods for about a year--some even longer.
The title for the concert--actually two different programs showcasing the works of graduating MFA choreographers and performers--is quite unique in itself. Graduate Janine Holton says that the title came together in a composition class at the beginning of the year. All of the students came up with an individual title, and then the class combined everyone's titles together.
"The title is a catch off of the fact that during your grad work, you can get a little overwhelmed, and you have to get through the thick of things in order to get out of it," says Holton.
Performers in the concert include MFA graduating students Rebekah Belanger, Teal Darkenwald, Wendy Ellis, Cory James Gram, Alison Whitcomb and Holton herself. Also featured in the performance will be local musicians, aerial dancers and visual artists.
Holton says that the UA School of Dance wants to include all of the arts, not just dance, and encourages anyone to attend Over the Whelmed and Out of the Woods.
"It's an innovative performance," says Holton. "We try to pique your interest so you aren't just watching legs kicking."
Tickets for Over the Whelmed and Out of the Woods are $10 in advance and $12 at the door; group rates are also available. Call the UA School of Dance at 621-4698 for more information. --K.H.