Following an initial invitation to perform at the Akko Festival in September 2013, today Ballet Austin announces invitations to expand the tour of Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project to three cities across Israel, with performance dates in Western Galilee, Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. The international tour focuses on cultural exchange, and sharing the acclaimed dance work that promotes the importance of the protection of human rights against bigotry and hate. The tour is scheduled for Sept. 18 – Oct. 2, 2013, in collaboration with The Western Galilee Partnership.
“To be invited to share this work and its supporting human rights dialogue with communities across Israel as an international cultural exchange is a pivotal milestone that is both humbling and reinforcing for [Ballet Austin Artistic Director] Stephen Mills and everyone involved since he initiated research for this project 11 years ago,” says Ballet Austin Executive Director Cookie Ruiz.
Ballet Austin’s Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project is a full-length contemporary ballet conceived and choreographed by Mills, and includes Holocaust education and a human rights community partnership through arts, education, and public dialogue.
With the endorsement of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and National Director Abraham H. Foxman, performances are scheduled for the Akko Festival (Sept. 22 & 23), in Tel-Aviv at the Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre (Sept. 27 & 28), and in Jerusalem at the Gerard Behar Centre (Sept. 30).
While in Israel, Ballet Austin company dancers, artistic staff and accompanying delegation of community leaders including representatives from ADL will have the opportunity to study at the Ghetto Fighters’ Kibbutz in Western Galilee and to meet with U.S. and international ambassadors, cultural leaders, and local Israeli officials.
The critically acclaimed work is characterized by Dance Magazine’s Kathleen McGuire as “a far cry from fluffy fairytales.” In her interview with Stephen Mills he says, “The lessons from the Holocaust are global and extend far beyond its victims. Genocide is not something that ended in 1946. It still exists today....We say ‘never again’ but it happens again and again.” Stephen Mills was awarded the Austin Anti-Defamation League's Audrey & Raymond Maislin Humanitarian Award in 2005 for Ballet Austin’s leadership in the field of human rights.
As one of the most resonant of Ballet Austin Artistic Director Stephen Mills’ works, Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project is inspired by the poignant journey of one survivor, offering a timely reminder of the importance of the protection of human rights against bigotry and hate. It premiered in 2005 and was restaged by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 2009. The project returned to Austin in 2012, with nearly 50 community partners. The work will tour in the fall and has been licensed to the Colorado Ballet for their 2012/13 season.
For more information about Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project, including information on how to bring the project to your community, visit www.balletaustin.org/light
For more about Ballet Austin’s invitation to perform at Israel’s Akko Festival for Alternative Theatre, read the news release here.
About Ballet Austin
As distinctive and dynamic as the city it calls home, Ballet Austin welcomes audiences near and far to participate in its “classically innovative” vision for the democratization of dance. With a rich history spanning five decades, acclaimed productions, a commitment to creating access to programs and one of the nation's largest classical ballet academies, the organization is poised for an even greater future. From their home at the Butler Dance Education Center in downtown Austin, Ballet Austin and Artistic Director Stephen Mills actively engage the community, dancers, and audiences alike. The New York Times proclaims Ballet Austin “a company with big ambitions” originating work that is “absorbing.”