Monday, October 6, 2008

Carolyn Dorfman's "Cat's Cradle"

In addition to being a North Coast (Michigan) native, Carolyn Dorfman is "a creator of provocative dances that reflect her concerns about the human condition, Dorfman is interested in creating "worlds" into which the audience can enter." One of these worlds is Theresienstadt, a Czechoslovakian Holocaust ghetto that she explores in her work "Cat's Cradle". While I haven't seen the performances in person, the videos (below) are captivating. The soundtrack from Norweigan Jewish vocalist, Bente Kahan sets the tone and anchors the time and place, but it's Dorman's choreography that pull me into the emotional experience. Isolated in a crowd. Heartbroken in a dance hall. Wonderful

Here's the official description of the piece...
"During the Nazi Regime of World War II, Theresienstadt was a ghetto in Czechoslovakia. Constructed by the Germans as a model city for the world to see, music, theater and opera became both a voluntary and involuntary part of its fabric. A city originally meant to house 5,000 people; it became a holding ground for well over 100.000 Jews and others who were ultimately destined for the gas chambers of Auschwitz. What is even more astonishing than the pain they endured is the life and light they embodied and the ability of the human spirit to soar amidst the darkness. It is a story of survival, will and connection, past and present. It is the story of my family, my people and the human race."
Choreography by Carolyn Dorfman
Lyrics by Ilse Weber with music by Ilse Weber and Bente Kahan
Performed by Bente Kahan on her album Voices from Theresienstadt
(Used with the permission of Hans Weber and Bente Kahan)
Lighting Design by Sean J. Perry
Costumes by Katherine Winter
Featuring Jacqueline Dumas, Mica Bernas, Sarah Wagner, Kate Hirstein, and Wendee Rogerson.

Part 1: I Wander Through Theresienstadt (Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt)
Part 2: The Potato Peeler (Die Kartoffelschälerin)

Cat's Cradle - Opening & The Potato Peeler

Ein Koffer Spricht: (A Suitcase Speaks)
Dancers: Kyla Barkin with Kate Hirstein, Mark Taylor, Wendee Rogerson, Aaron Selissen, David Shen, and Jon Zimmerman
Text by Ilse Weber; Music by Bente Kahan

Ich Bitte, Nicht Lachen (I Ask Most Politely)
Dancers: Sarah Wagner with Mica Bernas, Jacqueline Dumas, Kate Hirstein, Wendee Rogerson, Aaron Selissen, David Shen, Mark Taylor, and Jon Zimmerman
Text by Leo Strauss; Music by Imre Kalman Kommt mit nach Verezin (from the Operetta Gräfin Mariza)

Cat's Cradle - Talking Suitcase & Cabaret

For more info on the dance, see Carolyn Dorfman's website. For more info on the music, including her soundtrack album Bente Kahan's website.

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