The Schmooze

Two Choreographers Interpret the Shoah

“It is always controversial when someone makes a work about the Holocaust, especially when that person is not Jewish. It can bring up a lot of emotion and anger,” said Jonathan Hollander, director of Battery Dance Company, in an interview with The Arty Semite.

This week two dance performances explore the experience of the Holocaust from different points of view, one personal and one scholarly: Dana Boll’s “Bella’s Dream” at New York’s Flamboyan Theater on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and Jacek Luminksi’s “Not All Those That Wander Are Lost” at the Blue House cultural center in Breisach, Germany.

An American playwright and choreographer, Boll is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. Luminksi is a Polish choreographer and scholar who has focused his life’s work on the history of Jewish dance in Poland.

“I think now is as relevant a time as ever to discuss the Holocaust,” said Boll. “There are still people that deny it and people suffering from genocide — the need for dialogue is pressing.”

“Bella’s Dream,” which opened June 18 and runs until June 30, tells the true account of Boll’s Polish Jewish grandparents and their extraordinary journey surviving World War II. Dressed in 1930s attire, the actors and dancers narrate the story that moves from Poland, Russia and Uzbekistan to the United States. Unlike most musicals that rely on song to interpret emotion, “Bella’s Dream” reveals its greatest action in the dance sequences, combining text and dramatic scenes with long phrases of choreography.

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Two Choreographers Interpret the Shoah

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