Choreographer Rachel Linsky keeps Holocaust survivor Aaron Elster’s story alive in “Hidden”
Boston-based contemporary dance artist Rachel Linsky debuts Hidden, the latest in her ongoing choreographic series ZACHOR that seeks to preserve stories of WWII Holocaust survivors through dance. The evening-length performance runs Thu. Oct. 20 and Fri. Oct 21 @ 7 pm, and Sat. Oct. 22, 2022 @ 6 pm, at the Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Black Box Theater.
Hidden is inspired by the story of Holocaust survivor Aaron Elster who at 10 years old was hidden from the Nazis in a Polish family’s attic for two years. As an adult, Elster returned to the space and gained an appreciative perspective for the situation that felt like punishment to his younger self. Elster died in 2018, leaving a remarkable record of his experiences through interviews, writings and oral histories. Linsky and her dancers are working with Elster’s son, Steven, to keep his testimony alive.
“We are living in a pivotal time, where few living survivors are left to tell their stories first hand,” Linsky says. “We have a shared responsibility to take action and to figure out the future of Holocaust education. My hope is that audiences can connect with Aaron’s journey one emotion at a time and find ways to apply his messages to their contemporary lives.”
The performances include a short piece by a cohort of teenage dancers who took part in ZACHOR’s free, week-long “Embodied Holocaust Education Workshop” series this summer. During the intensive, the teens created an “ending” for the performance after reading and reflecting on Elster’s memoir, and interacting with a holographic interview of Elster created through the USC Shoah Foundation’s Dimensions in Testimony initiative.
As a choreographer, Linsky has dedicated her work to preserving the words of WWII Holocaust survivors through dance. The ZACHOR series brings diverse groups of artists and audiences together to study survivors’ stories, reflect on them, and respond to them through art and performance. As a descendant of WWII survivors who emigrated from Vienna and rarely shared their stories, Linsky says she is inspired by her family history and exploring the actions that the phrase “Never Again” demands of future generations.
Rachel Linsky is a Boston-based contemporary dance artist. She holds a B.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography and a B.A in Arts Administration from Elon University. Rachel’s choreography has been presented in national and international festivals such as Earl Mosely’s Diversity of Dance “Dance is Activism Film Festival,” Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, Prague International Film Festival and many more. Rachel has been an artist in residence at the Boston Center for the Arts through their new Dancemakers Laboratory Program and at Chelsea Theatre Works. She is currently a dancer with KAIROS Dance Theater and The Click Boston. She is on the teaching faculty at Koltun Ballet Boston and Urbanity Dance.
Director and choreographer for Hidden is Rachel Linsky. Lighting Designer and Production Manager is Andrea Sofia Sala. Sound Designer is Anna Drummond. Professional dancers in the performance are Gabriela Amy-Moreno, Imani Deal, Olivia Link, Olivia Moon, Cassie Wang and Aliza Franz (understudy). Teen dancers are Mackenzie Carty, Lielle Gershon, Veronica Maksymenko, Eden Menipaz, Ma’ayan Rider Shacham and Saratu Waya.
Hidden was first presented as a dance film that premiered in September 2021 and included a Q&A session between audience members, artists, and Aaron’s son Steven Elster. Tickets for Rachel Linsky’s Hidden are $25 ($20 for students and artists) and available at BostonTheaterScene.com.