Hebel translates to vanity, emptiness, vapor, breath, absurdity, or fleetingness, among many other possible definitions. Murdered by his brother, Abel becomes the embodiment of the absence hes named for. With no motive given, we are forced to fill in that narrative gap ourselves, to make sense of the senseless.
Hopper unknowingly painted for the novel coronavirus era. Thus, a new danced adaptation, luckily coming weeks before bans on in-person performances, has significant resonance. In Tales of Hopper, a repertory dance work that Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance premiered at New Yorks DiMenna Center for Classical Music in late February, Lavagnino and composer Martin Bresnick take on Rothensteins interpretation of incident and of character for Hoppers oeuvre.
Dance as a form of perseverance and resistance is not just the stuff of movies. Tatjana Barbakoff, a now much-forgotten historical figure, did just that, at great personal risk. Like Rosie, Barbakoff danced as long as she could in the face of hate during the Holocaust. A dancer from Russia (now Latvia) of Jewish and Chinese descent, Barbakoff moved to Germany and had a successful career performing throughout literary cabarets and theaters in the 1920s and early 30s.