If Fiddler on the Roof is your only association with Yiddish music, it’s time to update the repertoire. In BARRY: Mamaloshen in dance!, choreographer Asya Zlatina has created a modern, touching tribute to the Yiddish world of her grandparents. The numbers, set to the music of the famed klezmer vocalists Minnie and Clara Bagelman (better known as the Barry Sisters), illustrate the sounds and images of Jewish life in the early 20th century.
Modern dance can often be inaccessible to the layman, but the beauty and suggestion in the dancers’ gestures help craft the narrative of a Yiddish woman’s life. In “Child’s Play”, girls play hand games and flutter their floral skirts. In “Eyshes Chayil”, young women learn to fit the mold of good wives with measured steps, while in “My Yiddishe Mommeh” we see the frustrations and joys of mother-daughter relationships. And from time to time, figures dressed in black appear into view—these, it seems, are the memories, the shadows of those who have disappeared.
Featuring young talents and Zlatina’s storytelling choreography, BARRY is a show with heart and love, quick on its feet. [Levitt Auditorium, 401 S. Broad Street] September 11, 2016: fringearts.com/barry.