Posts Tagged ‘FSU’

For Jewish Brighton Beach, It’s Memoir Time

June 12, 2012

This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.

If you’ve seen movies set in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn such as “Little Odessa” and “Two Lovers”, you would think that the neighborhood is inhabited almost exclusively by Jews from the Former Soviet Union.

If today were the 1990s, you’d be right. But a group of Columbia University graduate students has produced a short video, called “The Changing Face of Brighton Beach,” documenting how the population of Brighton Beach has changed dramatically in the past couple of decades. Hint: You’ll still hear a whole lot of Russian in the streets, but you can’t assume its speakers are Jewish.

Click here to read more and watch the video.
© 2012 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.
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Firebird Dancers Soar

February 9, 2011

This review was first published as “Traditional Dance With a Fiery New Spin” on The Arty Semite blog of the Forward.

Firebird Dance Theatre (photo: Andrei Riskin)

The Firebird Dance Theatre dancers soared on stage last month at a benefit performance at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto, Calif., in celebration of the company and school’s 20th anniversary. With a 21-part program featuring Firebird’s signature fusion of modern, folk, lyrical, ballet and ballroom styles, dancers ranging in age from 3 to 26 joyfully honored the memory of founder and original artistic director, Roza Lysaya, who died in a car accident 12 years ago.

“She is unfortunately gone, but the tradition, the legacy is alive,” said Lotta Lysaya Burton, Firebird’s director, of the work her mother did in translating her success as the director of leading dance schools in the Former Soviet Union into a new school which has flourished over the past two decades in Silicon Valley. It was the Palo Alto JCC that provided Roza Lysaya a professional home upon her immigration to the United States, and Firebird has maintained close ties to it even years after having moved into its own studio space in nearby Mountain View.

Click here to read more and view a video of the Firebird Dancers performing ‘Simcha.’

© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.