Before 30,000 spectators at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, the Bamachol Academy dancers of the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in North Miami Beach performed as part of the opening ceremony of the 20th Maccabiah Games in Israel in July.
“Performing in Israel at the 20th Maccabiah is a testimony to the high quality of our dancers. We were the only non-Israeli dance company to be invited to perform at the opening ceremony,” said Roger Weiger, artistic director of the Bamachol Dance Academy.
The 29 Bamachol dancers performed three dances at the opening ceremony that was televised live in Israel.
“Performing in the opening ceremony was very special and emotional. The moment I went on stage, I was overcome with a feeling of immense pride and happiness,” said Joanne Niego, who in addition to performing, also coached the Bamachol dancers.
“The energy from the crowd was amazing. I was lucky to have the opportunity to perform at such a large event.”
It was so important for Niego and Weiger to participate in the 20th Maccabiah Games that they gave up the opportunity of entering a North Miami Beach dance team at the JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest this month. Niego coached the NMB team to five gold medals at the 2016 JCC Maccabi Games.