These days, a musical about a community where all members gather in the nude to sing and dance wouldn’t seem all that strange. After all, “Hair” has been around for decades.
But if you heard that this community was devoutly Christian, took vows of celibacy, and actually flourished nearly 200 years ago, you might raise an eyebrow. Perhaps you’d raise the other one if you heard that both the creators of this show were Jews.
When Avi Scher was accepted to the School of American Ballet almost two decades ago, when he was 10, he and his family faced a stark choice: they could stay in Israel with their tight-knit Orthodox community, where Scher was already training with one of the country’s prestigious ballet companies.
Caroline Lagnado |
Special To The Jewish Week
It seems fitting that a German ensemble would stage a work keenly evoking terror, displacement and survival amid catastrophe. Next week the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival will host “Gezeiten” (the aptly titled “Tides” in German), a dance theater performance choreographed by the likewise appropriately named Sasha Waltz.
When the Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter moved to London in 2002, he thought he could leave his past behind. But no luck: “In the back of the mind of the audience, they know I’m Israeli,” Shechter said in a recent interview. “I feel that this is how people look at me.”
About a year ago, Pilobolus, the renowned dance troupe that arrives at New York’s Joyce Theater next week, contacted Art Spiegelman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist of the Holocaust-themed book “Maus.” The troupe’s members wanted Spiegelman to make a dance with them, and were even willing to give him creative carte-blanche. No questions asked.