Sunday, March 22, 2015

Echad Mi Yodea Like You've Never Heard it Before - Modern Dance or Strip Haggadah?


Any way you experience it, the Passover seder can be a long evening of reading and eating, and by the time we get to the end of the Haggadah, we're ready for a change of pace. The last two songs, Echad mi Yodea and Chad Gadya, usually lend themselves to spirited and animated singing.

Around the world, many variations of these songs are performed, but the one we're sharing with you today is unique. A modern dance number choreographed by Ohad Naharin, artistic director of Israel's Batsheva Dance Company, it includes all 13 verses of the song. 

As modern dance, it's going to get different reactions from viewers in different age groups and with different artistic preferences. We're curious as to your reactions and invite your comments below.

The dance has been performed by many dance groups, including Batsheva and Alvin Ailey. We've looked at a few of them and find them to be similar, but this one by Lenka Kuzněcovová is the most expressive. The dance has been reviewed by many publications with varying interpretations.

As Valerie Gladstone wrote in the Los Angeles Times,
Twenty dancers form a semicircle as Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin's recorded voice speaks the first words of the traditional Passover song "Echad Mi Yodea" (Who Knows One), marking the beginning of his work by that name.
They sit down, lean forward and bow toward the floor. The Israeli rock group Tractor's Revenge pumps up the tempo with its version of the song. Thrusting out their chests, the dancers tilt backward in their chairs and spread their arms wide, wildly shaking their heads as if possessed. By the end, they are shouting out the lyrics and flinging off most of their clothes in an ecstatic celebration of movement and freedom.
In the Batsheva Dance Company version, the piece begins with a narrator speaking these words in a haunting voice: ”The illusion of beauty and the fine line that separates madness from sanity, the panic behind the laughter and the coexistence of fatigue and elegance.”

We take a lighter approach, and after looking at the pile of clothes left in the center of the stage at the conclusion of the piece, wonder if the group continued with Chad Gadya, what else they would take off.

Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)  
 


10 comments:

  1. Disgusting filth that only secular and anti-religious Israelis could present.
    Taking a holy song from the Pesach Haggadah and using it for a strip tease show is beneath contempt.
    Muslims and Christians would degrade their religion with such depravity

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You think they wore black suits in ancient Israel?

      Delete
    2. sorry you saw this dance in the words you used. I disagree with your terminology. To me, an observant Jew it was not filth, not nice of you to knock Israelis who are non observant; certainly not a strip tease. What was it? A powerful dance. I wonder, cause I do not know, the meaning of the dancer who drops to the floor each time or the dancer who stands on the chair or the meaning of each gesture for the 13 "me yodeahs". Who knows? I would like to know more before I cast such negativity. How about you?

      Delete
    3. Amazing performance and any filth would be only in the eye of the beholder.A group like this is needed in Israel to counteract the stranglehold in some areas by the ultra religious.

      Delete
    4. Performance is thrilling and very creative!

      Delete
    5. Perhaps SB233 didn't understand that the fully-clad dancer dropping to the ground and prostrating every time the words "Elokeynu, Elokeynu..." are sung is overcome with Yirat HaShem. These secular dancers were not making fun of "Echad Mi Yodeah." They were investing it with creative vigor and power.

      Delete
    6. I believe that the fully-clothed dancer who drops to the floor each time "Echad Elokeynu..." is sung is collapsing in yirat HaShem. These secular dancers are not poking fun at or trivializing this Pesach song. They have created a powerful performance piece fraught with meaning.

      Delete
  2. allowing the above comment is ridiculous, you see more skin on the beach

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have entered two very positive comments that in no way denigrated any others and am sorry that my comments have not been added.

    ReplyDelete