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Klezmer Aerobics? A Note on Choreography

4a28b8ed7f1ea_4619nResearch for this show has required substantial Delorean-style time-travel. I’ve been digesting videos – 80s Aerobics competitions, Richard Simmons workout tapes, as well as various forms of Jewish and klezmer dance from old Yiddish films and modern day Chassidic weddings. In the course of my choreographic journey I had the incredible opportunity to take master classes with Steven Lee Weintraub. If you have not heard of him, let me say this: Weintraub is a superb dancer and a stellar instructor. He is based in Philadelphia. After I described the characters in the story that I tell in the 80s Klezmer Aerobics show, Levi and the Old Badchen, he was able to suggest different gestures and dance moves for me to use as a palette.  Many of these moves are used to inform the character of the Old Badchen. One of my favorite parts of studying with Weintraub was discovering the handkerchief as a Jewish dance training tool. The cloth is spread out in front of the dancer as the thumbs pinch the corners. The cloth is flipped over and swung from side to side in ways that create a mirroring effect on the two sides of the body.  A simple and brilliant way for someone relatively new to the study of traditional Jewish dance, like myself, to develop form and style. – Daniel Brenner