Dancing into the light.
Light is what Hanukkah is all about. And for Tamar, the way into the light is through dance. It’s the “sweetest of things, full of mystery and passion.” After a car accident left her with a broken spinal cord, she lay in a hospital bed unable to lift her head from the pillow. The pain was “almost unbearable.” Her legs were paralyzed but Tamar never considered giving up on dance. “I asked a friend to bring a peacock feather to me. I moved it with my hand as he played an African instrument called a kalimba. I had begun to dance again.”
Before her accident, Tamar was a highly promising contemporary dancer, “very healthy and quite wild in my dancing.” But her disability “changed my mind and spirit. It allowed me and it forced me to be more concentrated, precise and minimalistic. Every movement needs a good reason.” Tamar gained a new philosophy of dance and a new sense of time: “Time stopped in a very final way, in a way that I could not have created myself. This understanding evoked something very precious about time, an awareness that time doesn’t need to be a chronology. It created a stillness and out of this stillness a whole new world was revealed to me.”
Her accident also created a determination to help others through dance. As soon as she was physically able, Tamar “went with my wheelchair” to other people with disabilities. “I wanted to bring light and happiness to them, a way to free themselves through movement.” She has won awards for her many years of helping chronic pain sufferers, abused women and others. “I teach them to guide their imagination. It is unbelievable how people who have been suffering for years can, for a brief time, feel no pain. Just by letting their imagination rule. I train myself each day to control my pain with my mind. There is so much more to our being beyond our physical bodies.”
Tamar’s dancing, her choreography, her performance art all draw on her belief “that there is a way we can heal ourselves.” She sees this potential for collective healing as a “great white light, a great lake of glowing, healing water. We all drink from it, we’re thirsty for it. This light is my guiding teacher. Through my dance, I try to remind my audience, my students, and anybody who wishes to evolve that we can all choose to drink from the lake of light.”
Cover photography: JEWBOY