Ballet Austin

One thousand points of 'Light'

<i>Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project</i>, 2005
Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project, 2005 (Photo courtesy of Amitava Sarkar)

Ballet Austin has once again turned on the Light, but this time it's even brighter – 50 times brighter. When it first produced Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project in 2005, the company made the work as much a community conversation on tolerance as the premiere of Stephen Mills' ballet. The performances were supplemented by a touring exhibit of artwork with the theme of coexistence, Holocaust education workshops, a town hall meeting, and lectures, including one by Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel. Now, as it revives Light for the very first time, Ballet Austin is boldly expanding that conversation to include almost 50 community partners and the productions, exhibits, literary events, screenings, programs, discussions, and award ceremonies that they're presenting in the first months of this year. From Martin Luther King Jr. Day last week to Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) on April 19, hardly a day will go by in Austin without some event shining a light on human rights and social justice.

With the conversation this time comes a campaign. Taking its cue from Wiesel's comment that "in every area of human creativity, indifference is the enemy," Ballet Austin is sending the message to the community to be vigilant when it comes to bigotry and hate. "Stay Awake" is the slogan. If that's something you want to do, go to www.balletaustin.org/light and scroll through the calendar of events for the next three months. For instance, this Sunday, Brent Hasty, executive director of mindPOP and a clinical assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin, will speak about "Creating Community and the Challenges of Holocaust Arts and Education" at the Jewish Community Center, 7300 Hart Lane. (Sunday, Jan. 29, 4:10pm) You can also check out video of the 2005 production of Light and the Emmy Award-winning video about the project made by KLRU's In Context series. Take advantage of this wake-up call. You're needed.

Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project will be performed March 23-25, Friday & Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 3pm, in Dell Hall at the Long Center, 701 W. Riverside. For more information, call 476-2163 or visit www.balletaustin.org.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Ballet Austin, Light: The Holocaust and Humanity Project, human rights, Stephen Mills, Elie Wiesel, Brent Hasty, mindPOP, In Context

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