GOLA Series

A Ceremony on Behalf of a Missing Affinity

The GOLA series started with the piece GOLA, originally created in 2017, and is inspired by the form, rhythm, and dogma of national ceremonies. The original material was transformed over time with different performers and in various settings.

The piece takes Shemesh’s personal experience into account, who re-located from Israel to Germany, living in the diaspora or ‘gola’ in Hebrew.

GOLA examines Israel’s national festivities of Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers and Holocaust Remembrance Day. During these days of commemoration, children, young adults and soldiers take part in events that could be described as public theatre. These collective rituals transmit and inscribe notions of collective grief, patriotism, heroism, and above all, pride. Recurring elements like flag-waving, marching, standing formations, storytelling, and hymns emphasize collective memory and identity.
Caught between nostalgia and critical distance, the GOLA series places these ceremonial acts in line with the need for affiliation and the potential of its satisfaction.

‘National ceremonies are an innate part of growing up in Israel. Like many of my friends, I volunteered to dance, sing, and act on stage. There was an indisputable aspiration to take part in a collective national ethos, but it was also an opportunity to perform on stage. However, these experiences also laid the groundwork for my dancing and choreographic career. Today, after having emigrated to Germany, I see the communal appeal behind these national representative acts in a different light.’

Reut Shemesh
GOLA 5th Movement (2022)
with students of the ZZT (CCD) Cologne
GOLA 3rd Movement (2022)
with students of the Maslool School of Dance- Bikurey Ha’ltim Tel Aviv (IL)
GOLA 2nd Movement (2018)
part of the BLUEPRINT curatorial project by CAT e.V. Cologne

Previous & upcoming performances

  • 11.5.2023: GOLA 4th Movement tanz nrw Festival, Ballsaal Bonn
  • 5.11.2022: GOLA 4th Movement MOVE! Festival, Fabrik Heeder, Krefeld
  • 30.9. + 1.10.2022 GOLA 5th Movement with students of the ZZT(CCD), Studiotheater ZZT, Cologne
  • 30.9.2022: GOLA 4th Movement (Rh)einfach Fest!, TanzFaktur, Cologne
  • 17.&18.9.2022: GOLA 4th Movement Premiere Europäisches Zentrum der Künste HELLERAU, Dresden
  • 10.8.2022: GOLA 3rd Movement Suzanne Dellal Centre, Tel Aviv (IL)
  • 23.6. 2018: GOLA 2nd Movement BLUEPRINT Public Interventions by CAT e.V., Ebertplatz, Cologne
  • 7.10.2017: GOLA TanzFaktur, Cologne
  • 15.&17.7.2017: GOLA ASPHALT Festival, Düsseldorf
  • 30.5.2017: GOLA Open Studio iDAS NRW, tanzhaus nrw, Düsseldorf
photo: Almut Elhardt


„Es ist ein tänzerisch in jedem Moment überzeugende, kraftvoll sinnlicher Essay über Ausbrechen und Zurückkommen, Nostalgie und Distanz, Hoffnung und Unsicherheit. Nach 60 hochspannenden Minuten ein letzter Fahnenknall, dann rauschender Applaus.“

‘Dancewise, it’s a convinving and powerful sensual essay about breaking out and coming back, nostalgia and distance, hope and insecurity. After 60 highly exciting minutes, a final sharp wave of the flag, then roaring applause ensues.’

– Elisabeth Einecke-Klövenkorn, General-Anzeiger Bonn, 15.5.2023

“(…)Gola 4th Movement (ist) ein energiegeladenes Spiel, voller Schönheit und Verausgabung.”

‘(…) Gola 4th Movement (is) an energetically charged game, full of beauty and exercion.’
– Isabel Manka-Fuest, Rheinische Post, (2022)

“Zur ‘ceremony’, zum Zeremoniell zu greifen, statt, wie viele Choreographen, zum pseudoarchaischen Sacre-Ritual, ist besonders.”

‘To revert to ceremony, to the ceremonial, instead of the pseudo-archaical ‘sacre ritual’, as many choreographers do, is unusual.’
– Melanie Suchy, Kölner Stadtrevue (2017)