Wednesday, November 28

Holocaust Survivor Tutors Palestinian Billy Elliot

From Canada's Globe and Mail:
KIBBUTZ GAATON, ISRAEL — The story could have been drawn straight from the Billy Elliot movie script: A young boy who was first transfixed by ballet on television, and would dance secretly in his room at night, practicing what he learned from films and Internet videos.

But Ayman Saffah is a young Palestinian-Israeli – as he prefers to be known – from a small village in the Galilee, and young men in traditional Arab Muslim villages don’t dance ballet, at least not publicly. And so Mr. Saffah’s path to a remote ballet school at Kibbutz Gaaton, the preparatory school for Israel’s prestigious Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, has been riddled with stops and starts.

“I always wanted to dance,” says the young-looking 17-year-old, wearing jeans and sneakers, a pair of sunglasses dangling at his neck. “[But] when I saw it on the TV or Internet, I saw many, many girls dance, but I never saw boys. So I thought I couldn’t do it.”

Read the rest (Gross posted what appears to be a large excerpt, since the G&M page is subscriber-only).

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