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Spectrum Dance Theater Performs Tribute to Jewish Artists at the Redfern

Spectrum Dance Theater will perform The Theater of Needless Talents, a moving tribute to imprisoned Jewish artists, on Tuesday, October 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College. This provocative work, directed and created by award-winning choreographer Donald Byrd, melds dance, theatre, and cabaret with a live musical score by Erwin Schulhoff, a Czech composer and pianist who died in 1942 in a Nazi concentration camp. The Theater of Needless Talents pays homage to the Jewish artists, who though imprisoned in Nazi death camps, managed to create, perform, and bring laughter and hope to themselves and fellow inmates. It is Donald Byrd’s tribute to Schulhoff, his brilliant music, and all artists who died during the Holocaust.

The Seattle Times calls it “Entertainment in extremis … the serious business of the human spirit expressing itself in a tune, a tango or a subversive turn of phrase under the worst of circumstances.”

The Theater of Needless Talents endeavors to have audiences consider that if we do not learn from the horrors of the Holocaust, the atrocities will be repeated, as evidenced by the recent human rights violations in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and the current injustices in Darfur.

Members of Spectrum Dance Theater will visit with patrons in the lobby before the performance and answer questions after the show in the Main Theatre. In addition, KSC Music Professor Elaine Ginsberg will talk about the Music of the Holocaust in the Harry Davis Room at 6:30 p.m. prior to the performance. All of these outreach activities are free and open to the public. Tickets are required to attend the performance. Tickets range from $25 to $13, and $5 for Keene State students. For tickets, call the Redfern Box Office at 603-358-2168 or order online at

The Redfern performance is part of a six-city national tour of The Theater of Needless Talents by Spectrum, a well-respected dance company based in Seattle. Spectrum’s 11 dancers will be joined by pianist Judith Cohen and violinist James Garlick, a young phenomenon whose 2009 concert recital with Cohen was hailed by the Gathering Note among their top 10 concerts of the year, and a to-be-announced cellist.

Established in 1982, Spectrum Dance Theater is the largest professional contemporary dance company in Washington State. Bessie-award winning choreographer Donald Byrd became Artistic Director of Spectrum Dance in 2002. Byrd, who has created over 80 works for modern dance companies, received a Tony nomination for his choreography for The Color Purple. Most recently, he was selected among the first group of fellows to the American Academy in Jerusalem and as a 2011 James Baldwin Fellow of United States Artists.

This performance, sponsored by The Kingsbury Fund, is presented in collaboration with the Keene State College Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Department of Holocaust and Genocide Studies. It was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the Arts.

About Redfern Arts Center on Brickyard Pond
The Arts Center is named in honor of Dr. Leo F. Redfern, Keene State College President from 1969 to 1979 for his vision, commitment, and eloquence on behalf of the arts that made funding and construction of the facility a reality. In 1981, KSC inaugurated this new performing arts center, with the goal of providing unforgettable artistic encounters for the campus and community. Since then, the Redfern stage has hosted hundreds of amazing shows, from internationally renowned artists to emerging young talents to KSC’s own student performers. Over the years, the Redfern has expanded its outreach programs and community partnerships, becoming an indispensible resource for the Keene community and beyond.

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