The Arty Semite

Barak Marshall's Dynamic Dance Mongering

By Benjamin Ivry

  • Print
  • Share Share
Photo: Gadi Dagon, Courtesy Barak Marshall Company

Dance talent is not often inherited through the generations, as we have seen with the regularly slated reconstructions of works by ballet master Michel Fokine, when recreated by his French granddaughter Isabelle. One happy exception to this rule is Los Angeles-born choreographer Barak Marshall, son of the acclaimed Yemenite Israeli dancer, choreographer and musician Margalit Oved.

In 2008 Marshall, who has been based in Israel as well as LA since 1994, created the ballet “Monger,” which was praised last year in the Forward, and will have its much-anticipated U.S. premiere at the venerable Jacob’s Pillow Festival on July 7, with repeat performances through July 11.

According to Marshall, “Monger” expresses the predicament of a “group of servants, trapped in the basement of the house of an abusive mistress.” The dance narrative is diversely inspired by the writings of Bruno Schulz, Jean Genet’s play “The Maids,” and Robert Altman’s film “Gosford Park.” Set to music ranging from the Israeli group Balkan Beat Box to Handel to NPR’s “Yiddish Radio Project,” “Monger” was first performed at The Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre at Neve-Tzedek, Tel-Aviv, a lively spot directed by the performing arts powerhouse Yair Vardi.

A ballet for 10 dancers, “Monger” tries, according to Marshall, to explore the “dynamics of hierarchy, power, free will and the compromises one makes in order to survive.” Definitions are also helpfully provided by Marshall of its title, which is both a noun (“A dealer or trader of a commodity”) and a verb (“To sell yourself”). All told, “Monger’s” muscular athleticism and kinetic forthrightness look likely to duplicate the success of Marshall’s 1998 ballet “Emma Goldman’s Wedding,” which toured Europe to widespread acclaim.

An even newer ballet by Marshall for a dozen dancers, “Rooster,” was premiered at Tel Aviv’s Israeli Opera in November, 2009. Also a singer, Marshall performed in 2006 with Yo-Yo Ma’s touring world music extravaganza, “The Silk Road Project.” More recently, Marshall has sung with the Yuval Ron Ensemble, a group dedicated, as its website declares, to “creating musical bridges between people of various faiths and ethnic groups worldwide.” Taking into account Marshall’s multi-talented energy, if anyone can construct such bridges, he probably can.

Watch pieces from Barak Marshall’s ‘Monger’:


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Dance, Bruno Schultz, Barak Marshall, Balkan Beat Box, Emma Goldman's Wedding, Gosford Park, Isabelle Fokine, Israeli Opera, Jacob's Pillow Festival, Jean Genet, Margalit Oved, Michel Fokine, Monger, Robert Altman, Rooster, Suzanne Dellal Centre, The Maids, The Silk Road Project, Yair Vardi, Yo-Yo Ma, Yuval Ron Ensemble

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.