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On your feet

by Jenna Weissman Joselit on January 29th, 2017

As nearly everyone has acknowledged by now, the march in New York, much like its sister demonstration in DC, heartened and uplifted the spirits. Even though it fell on Shabbat — or, better yet, precisely because it coincided with the traditional Jewish day of rest — amcha, the people in all their variegatedness, myself included, were on the move, bringing their collective values into the public sphere and onto the street. A memorable experience, from start to finish.

Flickr/martathegoodone

On the heels of the march, while back in DC a few days later, I tripped over my own feet, landing in the emergency room at GW’s hospital where I, along with many, many others, spent the better part of an entire Tuesday awaiting treatment. All I could think of as I sat there, just a few blocks away from the White House, was the chip, chip, chipping away of our health care system.

While subsequently nursing my wounds, I had occasion to make my way through Radical Bodies, the catalog that accompanies a brand new exhibition in Santa Barbara, at the University of California’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum. Focusing on the contributions of Anna Halprin, Simone Forti and Yvonne Rainer to post-modern dance, Radical Bodies argues, among other things, that the experience of being Jewish in postwar America — displacement and loss on the one hand, the plasticity and adaptability of Jewish values on the other — inspired all three women.

I look forward eagerly to seeing this exhibition when it comes to New York’s Public Library for the Performing Arts later this year and to thinking further about the relationship between Jewishness and dance. In the meantime: On your feet, everyone!

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