Why did I travel to the other end of town to see a tribute to Anna Sokolow so many decades after I last saw – or even thought about – her work? The answer is that Anna Sokolow, an important contributor to the repertory of American modern dance for sixty years, gave me permission to dance.
Seventy years ago this week, four women prisoners took part in an act of heroic resistance at Auschwitz, for which they were later hanged. Ala Gertner, Roza Robota, Regina Szafirsztajn, and Estera Wajcblum, all Polish Jews, were instrumental in smuggling gunpowder from a munitions factory to leaders of the underground in Birkenau, the adjacent camp. Their co-conspirators managed to blow up a crematorium, damaging it beyond repair so it was never used again.
The eight dancers in ZviDance’s “Surveillance” are being electronically monitored. Sometimes they take their turn at a stage camera, to track the others. Animation, pre-recorded video and live projections appear on a screen behind them.
For the second time this year, a musical takes as its inspiration the biblical “Song of Songs.” “Shulamit,” a Hebrew-language drama (with English supertitles), is the brainchild of Dina Pruzhansky. (It follows Andrew Beall and Neil Van Leeuwen’s “Song of Solomon” this summer.) Pruzhansky is a COJECO BluePrint Fellow (the program facilitates projects from young Jewish adults of Russian origin). Radio broadcaster Robert Sherman hosts the opening night event.
Out of Israel festival features choreographers, master classes and a dance party.
Choreographer Dana Katz turns the idea of dance theater-in-the-round inside out, when she premieres her new work, “Thousand Plateaus” at the 92nd Street Y, as part of the weeklong Out of Israel Dance Festival. Audience members will be seated in the middle of Buttenweiser Hall, while the four dancers of the group Danaka Dance will dance around the perimeter of the room.
She put modern dance on a new footing by infusing it with dramatic expression and social consciousness. Now, Anna Sokolow, the revolutionary Jewish choreographer who inspired many of the leading actors and dancers of the 20th century, takes center stage again next week in two shows that commemorate her remarkable legacy. Highlights from her work will be performed in “Anna Sokolow Way,” and dancers who worked with her will recount their memories and demonstrate her techniques in “From the Horse’s Mouth.” The shows are being performed in repertory through this weekend at the 14th Street Y.
Set against the imagined backdrop of Israel’s portion of the Mediterranean Sea, Amos Pinhasi opened this year’s Between the Seas Festival last Monday evening with “Mediterraneo.” The piece, combining dance and performance art, was meant to delve into the dancer’s own memories of his childhood in Israel.