REVIEW: New England Dance Ensemble presents evocative ‘A Child’s View of the Holocaust’

New England Dance Ensemble founder Barbara Mullen knows that if people do not know history, they are doomed to repeat it.

On Sunday, April 16, the New England Dance Ensemble (NEDE) performed A Child’s View of the Holocaust at Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua, NH.  The show was free and a benefit for the nonprofit organization. The temple generously served lunch prior to the production.  This ballet was 40 minutes with no intermission followed by a brief Q and A session and the show is currently streaming online.   The audience was encouraged to pause in quiet reflection rather than applaud.  Click here for more information.

A Child’s View of the Holocaust presented by New England Dance Ensemble Photo credit to NEDE

Barbara Mullen, NEDE’s Artistic Director, first produced A Child’s View of the Holocaust in 1990 and it has become an educational tool for thousands of audiences in its over 30 year history.  Its purpose is to memorialize the youngest victims of the Holocaust to ensure society will never forget and these horrors will not ever be repeated.  Few survived to tell their story, but relatives of a few of the victims were present in the audience on April 16.

Set in 1939, A Child’s View of the Holocaust is a depiction of how insidiously and methodically the new Nazi regime darkened the world and lured millions of victims.  One million out of six million victims of the holocaust were children.  It shows the progression of once innocent school children in braids and plaids as they wave at their friends shortly before a new and harrowing reality unfolds.  The panic, the shame, the indignation, and the implied brutality are difficult to watch, but the discovery and final understanding is the most poignant piece in the production.

The Nazis, led by Anya Petravicz, snake like a menacing train.  Stiff, militaristic, and linear, the dancers invade with expressions vacant and unyielding.  Coordinated by ballet master Andrew Matte, the production has a wealth of physical engagement that implies violence, but is no less powerful. 

Students in ‘A Child’s View of the Holocaust’ Photo credit to NEDE

A Child’s View of the Holocaust is a collaborative and stirring production delivered with careful grace, skill, and sensitivity by these young performers.  However, Harrison Conellier as the Holocaust’s first victim and Ipeksu Yucel as a Jewish mother offer powerful performances in evocative surprise, anger, and anguish as they are forced into impossible decisions in this journey to find light in the depths of loss.

New England Dance Ensemble continues to offer this important production to different institutions for educational purposes.  NEDE will next present The Lorax followed by The Nutcracker in the fall.  Click here for more information.

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