The Dybbuk (Dance)

Year of Premiere: 
Donald Byrd

World premiere of dance commission: November 8, 2010, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA, at Music of Remembrance's concert commemorating Kristallnacht.

MOR's second dance commission from Donald Byrd is for The Dybbuk Suite, Joel Engel's original incidental music to Yiddish writer S. Ansky's 1922 play. Engel led the Moscow chapter of the Society for Jewish Folk Music (the society lasted from 1908 to about 1919). He left Russia in 1922, moving first to Berlin, and then to Palestine in 1924. Earlier, in 1912, he and Ansky had embarked on an ethnographic trip through the shtetls of the Pale of Settlement. Engel returned with hundreds of musical transcriptions, and Ansky with the seeds of his play The Dybbuk, about a pair of star-crossed lovers and the legend of the dybbuk, a restless spirit that can possess the living.