Jerusalem ballet, Fiddler on the roof.
(photo credit: MAYA ALTOS)
Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the modest size Jerusalem Ballet company presented Fiddler on the Roof, a full length neo-classical ballet choreographed by dancer/choreographer Egor Menshikov.
A musical by that name was a huge hit 50 years ago, and so was the film which followed. Both were based on Sholem (Shalom) Aleichem story: Tevye the Dairyman, written around the turn of the 20th century was set in Eastern European town. Tevye and his seven daughters became a household name, and the travails of this Jewish family touched the hearts of audiences around the world.
A century later, that tale was adapted anew by the Jerusalem Ballet, leaning on its popularity in its dire need of support to survive. No doubt the famous story and its subject matter carries nowadays appeal and easier access to public support.
Tackling Fiddler on the Roof was not a simple challenge. It is the first full evening creation for Menshikov, who needed to find a viable artistic way to translate such detailed, text-based plot into movement’s language. For that purpose, he integrated neoclassical stylistic perceptions with contemporary notions, resorting at times to strong mime and gestures which were used in story ballets centuries ago.
With strong ballet background, his keen eye for composition and assured touches of humor and bravura, he made a charming rendition of Fiddler on the Roof. Whatever was lacking perfection in terms of technique, the young dancers compensated with appealing freshness and enthusiasm. Menshikov did a particularly good job in managing to build dramatic moments and coach the dancers in handling the more theatrical sections, obviously influenced by his traditional Russian ballet training.
Though a bit outdated, stage handling and some newer company members with less experience, the show had its appeal. The company enjoyed the experience of strong dancers such as Maria Selector, Joseph Aitken and Meitar Basson to name a few.
One of the most fetching traits of the company was the truly vivacious and unpretentious air, while showcasing their labor of love.
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