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Light/The Holocaust & Humanity ProjectBallet Austin/Stephen Mills

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#1 sdj3



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Posted 03 April 2005 - 03:16 PM

I just returned from my second viewing of Mr. Mills' new ballet, "Light/ The Holocaust & Humanity Project"

I walked into the theater Friday night with trepidation. A ballet about the Holocaust? It seemed to me like a mine field of a subject, humanly impossible to get through without falling victim to cliched or offensive traps. It could so easily have been slightly off, so easily have been so wrong. Instead, Light has left me breathless. My dear Ballet Austin, for once, did everything right. :D You literally could feel the tender loving care injected into every single minute detail. Everyone was so fully committed to the process of making the ballet, that the product speaks for itself. The support and credibility of the Warren Foundation and other major players only serves to strengthen and contextualize it, for Light stands firmly on its own merits.

The ballet is made up of five distinct sections, born from the common threads of survivors' individual experiences. Each section has different music (existing music by Steve Reich, Evelyn Glennie, Michael Gordon, Arvo Part, and Philip Glass,) but the tone works harmoniously. The minimalist design (Christopher McCollum) mirrored the metaphorical approach. The twenty dancers danced nearly all of the entire 75-minute show (no intermission.) Looking stronger and leaner than ever before, they were just about flawless. They have been tested physically and emotionally, and it's obvious they've emerged from this process enriched as artists.

Mills has apparently grown, too. His choreography was completely appropriate at all times, and most of it looked vastly different from anything of his I've seen before. One section was based on an earlier ballet, Ashes. However, he made major changes, and it fit seamlessly with the rest. I cannot describe in words this ballet's beauty. Mills managed to effectively convey enormous concepts through powerful imagery. But, it was subtle, not snobbishly weird or overpowering. It's as if he suggested a metaphor, one that was accessable to the entire audience (which included, I believe, a large number of first-timers to the ballet.)

I am confident Light , Stephen Mills, and Ballet Austin will receive great exposure. The ballet is, I think, universally significant. I've always thought dance to be the most communicative of the arts. Now, I am sure of it. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but dance, this ballet in particular, is worth a billion.

#2 carbro


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Posted 03 April 2005 - 07:56 PM

Thank you so much for this report, sdj. Like you, I would have considered attending this with a certain trepidation -- it could so easily have been a work that trivialized its subject matter or been offensive. It's good to hear that it did neither, but instead was a tribute to the lives of both survivors and victims.

#3 sdj3



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Posted 07 April 2005 - 05:37 AM

A 72-photo gallery of Light in performance. You can get a good sense of the production from these photos.

#4 Birdsall


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Posted 15 August 2012 - 12:31 PM

This ballet (Ballet Austin's *Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project*) will play Nov. 3 & 4 in Miami, and I might go down for it. I was glad to read the reviews of it here.

#5 California


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Posted 15 August 2012 - 12:47 PM

It's also being performed by the Colorado Ballet March 29-31, 2013:


I understand that a condition of performing rights is scheduling with various community activities, which you see on the web site.

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