Inspired by a letter she wrote to a young woman on the eve of her Bat Mitzvah, Joanie addresses the impact of the “inner girl” we carry within us throughout our lives. The concert traces the lifespan of a woman under the watchful and guiding eye of a young girl’s spirit. The production includes an original score by Billy Novick, sets by Linda Klein and videography by Lynn Bikofsky.
“Dear Olivia” was inspired by a letter Joanie wrote to a young woman on the eve of her Bat Mitzvah. Addressing the meaning of this Jewish life passage and the always timely topic of Jewish girls coming of age, Joanie suggests that the symbolic transition from “girlhood” to “womanhood” can be interpreted in a new way:
“…There are so many milestones, hurdles, and rites of passage that mark the many layered transition from girl to woman… but I’ve often thought that becoming a Bat Mitzvah is not so much about change, but rather a private and quiet space where we can ponder which parts of the “girl” we want to bring with us into the next stage…”
The choreography, set design, original score and videography come together in five dances exploring the life span of a woman under the watchful and guiding eye of a young girl’s spirit.
The first dance, a quartet, expresses the experiences and feelings of a Jewish woman in relationship to pregnancy, birth and infancy.
The second offers a glimpse into the delightful and exhausting rhythms of a toddler’s day.
The third dance focuses on the ever-changing moods of a teenager while ultimately revisiting the little girl within.
In the solo that follows, a middle-aged woman addresses her fears and disappointments. She embraces the changes women face in mid life but ultimately spirals back toward her ruminations and self examination.
In the finale, the ensemble explores winter and death within a Jewish context and the potential to be carried into the unknown in the presence of all the women who comprise each of us.
Performers: Joanie Block, Belle Halpern, Lily Kaplan, Julie Leavitt, Jessica Muise, Melinda Rothstein, Lucy Vine, Lorel Zar-Kessler.
Choreography: Joanie Block
Composer: Billy Novick
Video Art: Lynn Bikofsky
Set Design: Linda Klein
Green Street Studios, Cambridge, MA
Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center, Newton, MA