- For the politician, see Shmuel Avital.
Samuel Avital was born Shmuel Abitbol in 1932, in the small town of Sefrou, near Fez, in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. At the age of 14, Avital left his home in Sefrou to travel (via Algiers and France) to the newly established state of Israel. There he spent the next ten years living in a kibbutz and studying physics, agronomy, theology, and theatre.
In 1958, he traveled to Paris, France, to study dance and drama at the Sorbonne, as well as to study mime with the French masters, Etienne Decroux, Jean-Louis Barrault, and Marcel Marceau. Avital later performed with the Compagnie de Mime under the direction of Decroux' son, Maximilien Decroux.
In 1964, Avital joined his friend (and a fellow student of Etienne Decroux), Moni Yakim, in New York, performing with him in his Pantomime Theatre of New York. At the same time, he also performed off-Broadway, and later began to tour throughout North and South America. In 1969, in was invited to teach in the Theater Department at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. In 1971, he moved to Boulder, Colorado and founded Le Centre Du Silence Mime School, which has held an annual International Summer Mime Workshop ever since. As an extension of this work, Avital has also developed a unique method of bodywork called, BodySpeak, for cultivating kinesthetic awareness.
In recent years, Avital has begun teaching Kabbalah publicly in a series of seminars called, Gathering the Sparks, in Boulder, Colorado. Though less well known as a teacher of Kabbalah than as a mime artist, Avital was steeped in the Jewish mystical tradition from his youth and has taught a number of students privately through the years. Avital is descended from a long line of distinguished Moroccan rabbis, jurists, and poets, nearly all of whom were also learned in the secret teachings of the Kabbalah.
In addition to numerous articles, Avital is the author of several books, including the classic: Le Centre Du Silence Mime Work (1975), followed by a German edition entitled, Mimenspiel (1985), Mime and Beyond: The Silent Outcry (1985), The Conception Mandala: Creative Techniques for Inviting a Child into Your Life (1992, co-authored with Mark Olsen), The BodySpeak Manual: Moving Mind and Body (2001), and The Invisible Stairway: Kabbalistic Meditations on the Hebrew Letters (2003).
- Avital, Samuel Ben-Or. The Invisible Stairway: Kabbalistic Meditations on the Hebrew Letters. Boulder: Kol-Emeth Publishers, 2003: 258-260.
- Rocky Mountain News, Denver, CO, Sunday, September 26, 1971, "Avital, Elfin Apostle of Silence" by William Gallo
- The National Jewish Monthly, February 1976, "Space, Silence and Kabbala" by Myra Sklarew
- The Denver Post, Denver, CO, Wednesday, November 20, 1985, "Boulder Mime Invites Audience Truly to Get Into the Act" by Arlynn Nellhaus
- Rocky Mountain News, Denver, CO, Friday, December 30, 1983, "Mime’s Silent World Enhances Creativity, Increases Honesty" by Larry Brown
- Avital, Samuel. "Mime and Beyond: The Silent Outcry" Prescott Valley, AZ: HOHM Press, 1985: 171
- Avital, Samuel. "Mime and Beyond: The Silent Outcry" Prescott Valley, AZ: HOHM Press, 1985: 172.
- Avital, Samuel. The BodySpeak Manual: Moving Mind and Body. Boulder: 1st Books Library, 2001.
- Avital, Samuel Ben-Or. The Invisible Stairway: Kabbalistic Meditations on the Hebrew Letters. Boulder: Kol-Emeth Publishers, 2003: 258-265.
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