A lost world remembered at Bates

An award-winning choreographer will present a “live documentary” to recreate a dance-theater piece she staged in Eastern Europe at Bates College on Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall. The public is invited to attend free of charge.

Tamar Rogoff’s presentation will use slides, video and the 1935 diary of her father to reproduce The Ivye Project, a large-scale, site specific work she presented at the Holocaust memorial in the woods of Ivye, Belarus (formerly in Poland), where, over a two-year period, the Nazis massacred close to 4,000 Jews who made up 80 percent of the town’s population. Among the victims were 29 of Rogoff’s relatives.

For six weeks in the summer of 1994, Rogoff, a native New Yorker, gathered an international company of 100 individuals of all ages, including professional performers, locals, survivors, translators, Jews and non-Jews, to perform her vision of a vibrant and complex pre-World War II Jewish culture in Ivye.

Audiences, to the accompaniment of live music composed by Frank London, were guided through the woods by an angel/narrator, to discover scenes and characters in the clearings and meadows.

Rogoff’s presentation at Bates will include videotaped portions of the dance as well as a narration of how she conceived, researched and staged the actual performances. She will discuss the satisfaction inherent in celebrating Jewish culture on the very soil declared “Judenrein” or “free of Jews” by the Nazis. “What was so brutally persecuted,” Rogoff said, “is not entirely gone.”

Many of the images in the performance were inspired by the diary of Rogoff’s father, an American, who journeyed to Ivye in 1935 to visit members of his family. The “Ivye Project” is dedicated to their memories.

A three-time recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Grant, which along with Dancing in the Streets OnSite Commissioning Fund, helped to fund the two-year project, Rogoff’s work as a choreographer, director and teacher is often site specific, interdisciplinary and community based. She has developed dance projects with “deaf blind people, schizophrenic adults and recovering addicts,” according to the Village Voice.

Rogoff studied modern dance at the Martha Graham School and the NYC School of Performing Arts. A graduate of Antioch College, she has presented work in New York at Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, P.S. 122, St. Mark’s Danspace, Dance Theatre Workshop, Women’s Interart, Dia Center for the Arts and in prisons and psychiatric hospitals.

In Eastern Europe, Rogoff has choreographed for Estonia’s Nordic Star Dance Theatre, the Fine Five and Lithuania’s Aura Dance Company.

For further information, call the Olin Arts Center at 786-6135.

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