It seems hardly a year ago that I was at Drisha and rushing back and forth to the computers between classes to check the status of my Indiegogo campaign. Now, a year later, SSDP has more than just launched, we made very good on our promise to finish Dry Bones in 1-2 years. So good, we did it in less! And what a whirlwind almost-year it has been...
To celebrate, I'd like to share a few words by a few friends after seeing the premiere of the full length version:
"Show was magnificent, riveting, brilliant and so professional. Wonderful how all the pieces fit together. Fantastic dancers, musicians, composer, singer and choreographer. It was such a special night. I will never forget."
"I think what you're doing is truly pathbreaking and cutting edge, and exactly what I think more of us should be doing with our abilities - using them to really explore our identity and Jewish texts etc. We have these gifts, and let other people tell us how and when we should use them. No! You tell the world This is what I want to dance about and explore."
- Miriam Leah Droz, Founder of The Association for Torah & the Arts (ATARA)
"When I settled down to watch the show, I was thinking of two aspects of the title and description: “Resurrection of the Living” and “three twenty-first century women taking ownership of their sacred texts.” I let those ideas sink to the background and tried to see the dancers with a blank mind, open to seeing and hearing them without being filtered through any construct.
And as I was drawn in to the motion of the dancers, I began to feel a narrative taking shape. It was only after the show that I put the pieces together.
During the dance itself, I felt my reactions moving from a sense of tension and urgency to unbridled joy, and finally to a sense of serenity and calm happiness.
Thinking about it afterwards, I realized that the two threads of the description came together for me in the emotions the dance inspired in me.
In the first section, the dancers’ motions were precise and sharp, and the urgency and tension I felt was the feeling of a first attempt to study and live according to a sacred text, a sense of the text’s overwhelming importance that restricts and paralyzes, getting in the way of fully understanding. The motions were beautiful but felt contained, constrained.
But the second section was like bursting out of that tension. The dancers donned bright dresses and merged in a swirl of connections, eyes and hands coming together again and again. The motions were free, flowing, fluid. With a bounce and a swing in her every step, I felt as if “she” looked up from the text and stepped away for a moment, let go, let loose. And as it went on, the dance moved from the complete abandonment of this section’s opening to a calm motion, a feeling I like to think of as content rather than unreservedly happy.
And that carried over to the third section. I interpreted this section as the woman looking back over her journey, taking stock of both the tension and urgency to stake a claim to her sacred text and the wild feeling of letting go for just one second. And she realizes then that she doesn’t have to have one or the other. She returns to her text with a better understanding of how to relate to this kind of quest, combining serious study with joy in living according to her understanding of this study.
This is both the story of a woman taking ownership of her text and the story of the resurrection of the living. Though living, though striving for greatness, she must be resurrected in order to truly live, to embrace both the gravity and levity of her connection with her text."
- Esther Bernstein, Medieval Literature PhD Student
Thank you for your love and support, you three!