Holocaust-Themed Ballet ‘Light’ Teaches Important Lessons

Florida is one of just seven states that includes Holocaust education in its state standards, and recently more than 1,500 Palm Beach County students in grades 7-12 attended the ballet Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project in support of educators’ efforts to enhance understanding of human rights. The special performance, held at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, was the result of a partnership between the Kravis Center and inSIGHT Through Education Inc.

Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project explores the devastating outcomes of unlearned lessons revealed through the story of a Holocaust survivor. The internationally acclaimed dance work by Ballet Austin’s Artistic Director/Choreographer Stephen Mills, which debuted 10 years ago, brings heartbreaking beauty to the stage and a timely reminder that injustice to one is injustice to all. Light seeks to promote discussion against bigotry, hate and bullying among all community groups.

Mills, inspired by the true life story of Holocaust survivor Naomi Warren, created Light as an artistic response to 9/11. As he discusses in Ballet Austin’s educational materials, “My hope is that this [ballet] sparks your interest, which in turn starts a conversation. People engaging in dialogue begin the process of positive change.”

As part of the program, Mills conducted a master class with ballet students at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts the day before Light debuted at the Kravis Center, critiquing their technique and providing instruction. It was a special opportunity for local students studying the performing arts to train with a world-class artistic director and choreographer.

To learn more about Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project, visit www.balletaustin.org/light.

ABOVE: Choreographer Stephen Mills works with Dreyfoos School of the Arts students.