YM & YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood, sponsored by the UJA-Federation of New York, 2009-2012
Sosua: Dare to Dance Together is based on the actual events of 1938, when a special kinship was formed between the arriving Jewish population and residents of Sosua, a small Dominican town where many Jews found a safe haven from the Holocaust. This amazing story of courage, survival, freedom and friendship was related in a musical and theatrical performance by Jewish and Dominican teens from the neighboods served by the Y. The original musical score, composed by the legendary Liz Swados, incorporates the Caribbean rhythms, off beat energy of salsa, and nostalgic sadness of Klezmer music.
As part of the project, the talented group of Jewish and Dominican teen performers learned the complex and tragic history of Sosua through their research and interviews with Holocaust survivors and Dominican elders. Under the guidance of Liz Swados, the teens examined the controversial reasons why Dominican dictator Trujillo accepted the Jews mainly because they were white while murdering tens of thousands of Haitians largely because they were not, thus exploring painful issues of racism, abuse, and suffering. These teenagers formed strong inter-group relationships and created a powerful piece of art with incredible depth, sharing their joy and pain, challenges and pride in being different, and commonalities of purpose that will enable them to emerge as future leaders in the community-at-large.
Composed and Directed by Liz Swados
Cast: Kaitlin Abreu, Cindy De la Cruz, Kassandra De la Cruz, Marcella Espaillat, Darien Fernandez, Annie Fidoten, Jeremy Gershonowitz, John Guiterrez, Jordan Hoepelman, Derek Jeffrey, Cody Kostro, Brett Krutiansky, Hannah Krutiansky, Naomi Nesher, Ben Packman, Thalia Pignanelli, Luis Rodriguez, Alison Shilling, Margaret Sounders, Zoe Tchapraste
Assistant Director – Matthew Ghering
Music Director – Shaina Taub
Set and Puppetry Designer – Eli Kaplan-Wildmann
Concept – Victoria Neznansky