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  • Writer's pictureLinda Odhner, with photos by Liz Kufs

Excerpted Inspirations #69

[The members of Gan Shalom, an Israeli kibbutz, are celebrating the country's newly recognized statehood, in 1947, by dancing the Hora together.]      Suddenly Tamar was out on the floor alone.  Josef with swift instinct began playing, and Tamar danced.  Her small, slender figure lifted and floated; her golden braids shone in the yellow light.  She was a sylph, a changeling, a fluff of thistledown.  Josef, only one eye on the piano, caught his breath sharply, and the others stared in awe.       Pure ballet it was, wonderful even to those few who had seen great dancers.  She danced the story of her life, they all knew without being told.  Gay at first, and lighthearted.  Then growing fear, shock, pain -- sorrow so deep that all felt the tears come to their eyes.  It brought back their own past miseries, somehow cleansed and made beautiful by the beauty of Tamar's dancing.  Then came faint hope, followed by a tremulous, doubtful peace, and finally wild, triumphant rejoicing.  The sensitive Josef followed each mood on the piano with uncanny sympathy and feeling.       When Tamar finished, there was a profoundly moved silence, and then a storm of applause.  She stood quietly, saying nothing, but with flushed cheeks and bright eyes.  Abba Schlomo walked slowly over to her and placed gentle hands on her shoulders, looking into her eyes as if he had discovered something he had never known before.       "Thank you for that gift, my dear," he said gravely.  "I have never seen anything lovelier, and none of us will ever forget it.  You have studied ballet, haven't you?"      Tamar nodded.  "My mother was a dancer.  I studied with her, to be one too.  Then -- " she shuddered slightly and stopped.      "You shall be, if you still want to," promised Abba Schlomo firmly.  "You have rare and wonderful talent, and we will see that you have the training you need."  Sally Watson, To Build a Land (1957), pp. 137-138 “Tamar Dancing” by Linda Odhner

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