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.
(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.)