Ballet Austin is pleased to announce the invitation from United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. for Artistic Director Stephen Mills to add his verbal record to an online oral history that includes the reflections of Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and U.S Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg. The podcast series entitled, Voices on Antisemitism aims to raise awareness about historical and contemporary anti-Semitism through interviews with artists, scholars, activists, authors, politicians, and survivors.
Mills’ invitation is the result of one of his most-resonant works, Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project. The full-length ballet and multi-disciplinary community project promotes the protection of human rights against bigotry and hate through arts, education and public dialogue.
Mills’ podcast and written transcript will be available on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website at ushmm.org and on iTunes starting today.
Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project challenges communities to work collaboratively to consider the “difficult knowledge” presented by the Holocaust. In the cities that host Light, citizens are challenged to hold themselves and each other accountable for any act of disregard for human rights, and to learn by studying the ethical, historical and representation issues of the Holocaust through art, education, and public dialogue. The project culminates in each city with performances of Ballet Austin’s dance work by the same name.
Set to the music of five of the most important living composers, Mills' original choreography turns the spotlight on discrimination and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project earned Mills the Austin Anti-Defamation League's Audrey & Raymond Maislin Humanitarian Award.
“Seven years ago I never could have imagined creating a project that would become part of the permanent collection at the USHMM… to have the opportunity to share my work in this way, and to know our story will be forever archived online--and used in classrooms around the world--is very gratifying.” said Mills.
When it premiered in Austin in 2005, Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project brought national attention to Ballet Austin, with recognition including national reviews and restaging by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 2009. In the spring of 2012, Ballet Austin and 50 community partners brought the project back to Austin. In November 2012, it toured to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. Next, the work travels to the Colorado Ballet, Denver in March 2013, followed by Ballet Austin on tour in June to perform Hush, the final movement from Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project, at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as Ballet Austin's fourth Kennedy Center engagement and first invitation to perform with Ballet Across America. In addition, Ballet Austin is extremely honored to have received an invitation to tour across Israel this fall with performances in Acco, Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. The international tour focusing on cultural exchange is scheduled for Sept. 2013, in collaboration with the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin and its partnership with the Western Galilee.
To listen to the podcast, learn more about anti-Semitism and to contribute thoughts to Voices on Antisemitism series visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website at ushmm.org.
For more information about Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project, visit balletaustin.org/light.
About Ballet Austin
As distinctive and dynamic as the city it calls home, Ballet Austin welcomes audiences near and far to participate in its “classically innovative” vision for the democratization of dance. With a rich history spanning five decades, acclaimed productions, a commitment to creating access to programs and one of the nation's largest classical ballet academies, the organization is poised for an even greater future. From their home at the Butler Dance Education Center in downtown Austin, Ballet Austin and Artistic Director Stephen Mills actively engage the community, dancers, and audiences alike. The New York Times proclaims Ballet Austin “a company with big ambitions” originating work that is “absorbing.”