You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Jewish-themed ‘Psalm’ featured in dance show

Sun Sentinel logoSun Sentinel 5/6/2022 Sergio Carmona, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Jewish-themed dance performances are featured during shows from May 12-14 in South Florida.

For Program III of its season, Dance NOW! Miami has joined forces with the New York-based Limón Dance Company for a series of joint shows across three counties.

The shows take place at 8 p.m. on May 12 at Duncan Theatre, 4200 S Congress Ave. in Lake Worth; at 7:30 p.m. on May 13 at Broward Center for the Performing Arts Amaturo Theater, 201 SW Fifth Ave. in Fort Lauderdale; and 8 p.m. on May 14 at Aventura Arts & Cultural Center, 3385 NE 188th St. in Aventura.

Featured in the show is “Psalm,” which was choreographed by the late-José Limón, co-founder of the dance company that bears his name, before his death. The performance is inspired by French author Andre Schwarz-Bart’s semi-historical novel, “The Last of the Just,” and is based on the ancient Jewish tradition that all the sorrows of the world rest within 36 Just Men, the Lamed-Vav. It traces the martyrdom of the Jews through 36 generations of the Levy family, ending at Auschwitz.

Dante Puleio, artistic director of the Limón Dance Company, said, “These 36 Just Men are responsible for absorbing the pain in the world.”

“This particular piece is about one Just Man, who is absorbing and doing this sacrificial dance as part of this story,” Puleio continued. “This piece is really about the human’s ability to triumph over death, and I think it’s interesting that José Limón chose that theme to triumph over death as one of his last pieces.”

Puleio noted, “It feels like it’s sharing a bit of who José Limón was and his life’s work while furthering this story that I don’t think a lot of people outside the Jewish faith really know about.”

Puleio explained the importance of having a Jewish-themed dance in the show.

“I don’t know how much Jewish representation there is in modern dance, especially Jewish stories,” he said. “I think in terms of representation, I think it was really smart of José to choose a community that isn’t really represented in a particular art form necessarily. We have a cantor [Erik Contzius] who is singing in Hebrew. I think it unites different communities through different mediums.”

Puleio said, “So much of José's work is very universal.”

“The point of departure is this Jewish tradition, but the idea that we are all able to come together as a community and be empathic and compassionate for one another, and support one another through a particularly difficult moment is really relevant in this piece and it’s a thread throughout.”

Another Jewish-themed performance taking place is “Anusim, what is hidden is never lost,” which premiered at a Dance NOW! Miami show last year. The piece is inspired by the 1497 decree in Portugal forcing all Jews to be baptized as New Christians, but allowing them to practice their own religion in secret.

Hannah Baumgarten, co-artistic director of Dance NOW! Miami, said, “Dance NOW! is excited to partner with the Limón Dance Company and both of us present works with Jewish themes about the human condition.”

“The history of the Jews reminds us that for generations, many have faced discrimination, bigotry and cultural annihilation,” Baumgarten continued. “Modern dance is the expression of the human condition through movement. The importance of retelling these stories, particularly through dance, is that we magnify our triumphs as people, and the power to overcome adversity.”

Visit dancenowmiami.org/ for more information on the shows, including tickets.

©2022 South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Visit sun-sentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Sun Sentinel

AdChoices
AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon