Yud: The Little Letter that Could (Elul)
A Moving Elul Experience
with Bruce Bierman and Gilberto Melendez
Thursday September 10 @ 7pm (on Zoom)
Chochmat Members – $9 | General Public – $18 | or Pay What You Can
Festival Pass – $36 Members or $72 Nonmembers for all Elul events
The angular, oppositional shapes and deeper philosophical meanings of the Hebrew letters have long fascinated mystics, artists, and contemporary choreographers alike. Join celebrated Jewish dance master, Bruce Bierman, for this playful movement workshop spotlighting the Kabbalistic letter connected to the month of Elul— YUD–the smallest of the Hebrew letters that ‘holds much’. Dig deep into the restorative secrets of Yud (and Elul) with your whole body by tapping into the letter’s momentum from a small pinpoint of potential–into pure energetic motion forward! Then, see how the letter itself works its way back into iconic gestures embedded within older sources of ecstatic Jewish dance. All backgrounds and faiths welcomed and no experience needed. Groovy Jewish world beats, ancient and contemporary, will be our soundtrack for a journey that we hope will uplift and inspire the whole body, mind, and soul! Please wear comfortable clothing to move ‘forward’ in.
Bruce Bierman is a graduate of the U.C. Santa Cruz Theater Arts program and is a celebrated Jewish dance master, teaching artist, and theater director in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Bruce has studied under the guidance of a handful of some of the great Jewish dance masters including legendary Felix Fibich, who passed down to him his choreographic work with the Hebrew alphabet. Bruce was a leading performer and teacher with the acclaimed Aman Folk Ensemble of Los Angeles and currently serves on the faculty of the groundbreaking Stagebridge Theater Company in Oakland. Recently, Bruce was enlisted as Yiddish dance dramaturg for the Tony Award-winning play, ‘Indecent’ at both the Arena Stage and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Bruce directed and choreographed the Yiddish musical, The Megilleh of Itzik Manger for the Berkeley Jewish Music Festival, and is set to direct the Yiddish Theatre Ensemble’s upcoming production of Sholem Asch’s original God of Vengeance. He currently has an artist fellowship with LABA East Bay – A Laboratory for New Jewish Culture. You can contact Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gilberto Melendez began his career as a dancer in Managua, Nicaragua as the most sought-after dance partner for every fiesta in town. Upon arrival in Los Angeles, he focused his studies on ballet, flamenco and tango as a student of some of the leading teachers in their fields including: Sonya Van Beer, the prima ballerina of the Dutch National Ballet, and master flamenco teacher Roberto Amaral. Performance credits include: Principal dancer in El Gato Montes starring Placido Domingo, The Nutcracker with the Palos Verdes Ballet, and The Megilleh of Itzik Manger with the Berkeley Jewish Music Festival. Gilberto also serves on the staff of Lighthouse for the Blind and performs and co-leads the Joy of Jewish Dance workshops with his husband, Bruce Bierman.