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Women of the Hebrew Bible, Part 7: Ruth

August 20, 2010 Leave a comment

 

Ruth (c) 2010 Sheila Orysiek

Entreat me not to leave thee
Or to return from following after thee
for
Whither thou goest
I will go
And where thou lodgest
I will lodge
Thy people shall be my people
And thy God
My God

By Sheila Orysiek

SAN DIEGO– Ruth pledged her troth both to Naomi as well as the people of Israel.  King David was a descendant of Ruth.

Last in a series of seven about women of the Hebrew Bible illustrating the moment in their lives when they were at pivotal point, contributed significantly to subsequent events and/or set a precedent in the history of our people.

The original pen and ink measured 16 x 20

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Orysiek is a freelance writer and artist based in San Diego

Women of the Hebrew Bible, Part 6: Deborah

August 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Deborah (c) 2010 Sheila Orysiek

By Sheila Orysiek

SAN DIEGO –Deborah was a judge in Israel in the time before the kings.  Tradition has it that she sat under a palm tree at the gates of the city.  She was a military leader as well as a prophet.

One of a series of seven women of the Hebrew Bible illustrating the moment in their lives when they were at pivotal point, contributed significantly to subsequent events and/or set a precedent in the history of our people.

The original pen and ink measured 16 x 20.

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Orysiek is a freelance writer and artist based in San Diego.

Women of the Hebrew Bible, Part 5: Five daughters of Zelophehad

August 18, 2010 Leave a comment

The Five Daughters of Zelophehad (c) 2010, Sheila Orysiek

By Sheila Orysiek

SAN DIEGO–Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah as the only heirs of their deceased father, were determined to claim an inheritance and therefore honor their father’s name.  Moses and the elders in Israel considered their plea and agreed. This set a precedent for women to inherit.

One of a series of seven concerning women of the Hebrew Bible illustrating the moment in their lives when they were at pivotal point, contributed significantly to subsequent events and/or set a precedent in the history of our people.

 The original is pen and ink on paper, measuring 16 by 20.

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Orysiek is a freelance writer and artist based in San Diego

Women of the Hebrew Bible, Part 3: Bithiya

August 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Bithiya (c) 2010, Sheila Orysiek

By Sheila Orysiek

Sheila Orysiek

SAN DIEGO–This Egyptian princess going down to the Nile to bathe saw an infant in a basket.  She realized it was most probably the desperate effort of an Israelite woman to save her little son.  Her humanity triumphed over the Pharaoh’s edict to slaughter all male infants among the Israelites.  She adopted him as her own.  This child grew up to become Moses.

One of a series of seven women of the Hebrew Bible illustrating the moment in their lives when they were at pivotal point, contributed significantly to subsequent events and/or set a precedent in the history of our people.

The original is pen and ink on paper, measuring 16 by 20.

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Orysiek is an artist and freelance writer based in San Diego

Women of the Hebrew Bible, Part 2: Jochebed

August 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Jochebed, (c) 2010, Sheila Orysiek

Jochebed

Determined to save the life of her infant son from Pharaoh’s edict to kill all the male infants among the Israelites, she wove a basket and sadly – but courageously – pushed it into the Nile River.  Without her action our story may never have been.

One of a series of seven women of the Hebrew Bible illustrating the moment in their lives when they were at pivotal point, contributed significantly to subsequent events and/or set a precedent in the history of our people.  — Sheila Orysiek

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Orysiek is a freelance writer and artist based in San Diego.

Pen and ink series illustrates women of the Bible

August 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Sarah; Women of the Hebrew Bible – A Moment in Their Lives; Pen and Ink on Paper; 16 x 20; (c) Sheila Orysiek

SAN DIEGO (SDJW) — Sheila Orysiek of San Diego has put pen to paper to draw seven women of the Bible at pivotal times in their lives or when their actions “contributed significantly to subsequent events and/or set a precedent in the history of our people.”

For our readers’ enjoyment, San Diego Jewish World will present the drawings consecutively in issues over the next week (Shabbat excluded)

The first focuses on Sarah.

Writes the artist:

“Sarah, wife of Abraham, had accompanied him on all his journeys. She was present when the three Visitors promised that she would bear a son.   She helped Abraham as he hosted the Visitors and though she laughed at the idea of giving birth at her advanced age, she did indeed become the mother of Isaac and thus of Israel.”  

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Preceding was a San Diego Jewish World staff report

‘Chagall’ proves to be an exciting work in progress

June 14, 2010 1 comment

By Sheila Orysiek

Sheila Orysiek

SAN DIEGO–The 17th Annual Jewish Arts Festival, which runs from May 30th to June 21, spans the wide spectrum of the performing arts.  Malashock Dance and Hot P’Stromi brought together modern dance and Klezmer at the Lyceum Space Theatre in downtown San Diego.  I attended the performance on June 13th.

What better way to celebrate art than to bring together artists of different genres to celebrate the life of another artist?  John Malashock – founder and choreographer of Malashock Dance – and Yale Strom – violinist, composer, filmmaker, writer, playwright and photographer – combined their significant talents to produce their newest collaboration Chagall.

The Lyceum Space Theatre is a small venue (seating approximately 270) with a square stage jutting out into the audience on two sides.  Thus one is both near enough to feel close to the action, but far enough away to see the design concept as a whole.  Seats are in tiers, so for the most part sight lines are good.  Because of the proximity over zealous amplification can be avoided – for which this observer is grateful.

Strom brings his varied background plus a group of musicians playing Klezmer (and more) under the name:  Hot P’Stromi.   The program opened with several selections of Klezmer from parts of Eastern Europe, such as the vicinity where Chagall was born and spent his childhood, to Romania which is just across the river. 

Love it or not, and I do love it, it is impossible not to respond to Klezmer.   In some ways it is like American jazz – the musicians responding to one another, each in turn picking up the motif – adding, subtracting, clarifying and crafting a specific sound for a specific instrument.  Then, coming all together they go rollicking along.  But, Klezmer also can be winsome and even sad.  The audience reacted to both – some barely able to keep their seats.

John Malashock founded his modern dance company in 1988 and has been a significant presence in San Diego ever since.  His background is impressive and runs the gamut from film (dancing in Amadeus), television specials, choreographing for many other companies – both dance and opera -culminating in four Emmy awards.  He spoke to the audience briefly – but enjoyably – about the work being performed and his plans for it.

Chagall is still a work in progress and Malashock presented three scenes from what will eventually be a full length amalgam of dance, music and imagery.  The first scene was of the village Vitebsk, where Chagall was born in what is now Belarus, but was then Russia and at times Poland.  The second scene is his first significant love who introduces him to her friend who becomes the “love of his life.”  

Michael Mizerany, associate artistic director and senior dancer (with an impressive resume including two Lester Horton Dance Awards) was “Chagall” and brought to the role an understanding of how to portray a painter/artist through the art of dance/movement. 

It is difficult to understand why Chagall would reject his first love, Thea, (Lara Segura) for Bella (Christine Marshall).  But love is not mental – it is visceral and there is no accounting for it.  It is the one emotion we cannot place at the service of reason; however, I think I would enjoy seeing that explored a bit more.  Segura was a lovely Thea.  Costumed in a simple short white sheath she danced passionately while still innocent enough to introduce her friend to her lover.  Marshall, surely a fine dancer, didn’t quite tell me what Chagall saw in her to capture his heart – but perhaps that was not Malashock’s intent.  Or perhaps Chagall didn’t know.

Chagall’s physical love feeds his artistic vision.  He takes his brush and paints her in invisible images upon invisible canvasses.  Then, he uses his brush to explore her body – never vulgarly – but always seeking to understand her outline.  Maybe that is what he really needs.

The pas de deux (this is modern dance so perhaps I should say “dance for two”) is well done – but somehow didn’t convey the depth of passion that must have been there.  However, this is still a work in progress not only for the choreographer, but also for the dancers and they haven’t as yet internalized it.  It is certainly a good beginning.

Tribes premiered in 1996 and has the feeling and confidence of a complete work, completely conceived – much like a Mozart symphony.  It is a dance (again using Strom’s original music) which is described by Malashock as follows:  “….each dancer creates his/her own culture.  These fantastical “tribes” connect, collide, and ultimately share in a blending of the eternal spirit.”

It is always fascinating to see what Malashock does with the music; forming groups and then breaking them apart.  Each twosome or threesome dances to the same music at the same time, but completely differently – bringing to view other aspects of the music.  And each is valid and “true.”  I find myself saying “yes, that is how the music looks.”  He also never falls overly in love with his own invention – it is given, enjoyed and then he moves on, confident in his next vision.  The flow is natural, never contrived, and though one knows of the reality of the endless rehearsal which must have taken place, the movement is fresh, natural and seemingly – what a painter would call – a “happy accident.”

The dance flows from shape to shape, pausing for just a moment to allow the eye to capture it, but still keeping the seams between phrases invisible.  The entire body is used; hands and heads as important as legs and arms as important as spines and breath.  There were a couple of times, when the choreography allowed, I would have enjoyed seeing some eye contact betwixt the dancer and the observer – a living connection; “I am also dancing for you.” 

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Dance critic Orysiek is based in San Diego.  She may be contacted at ORZAK@aol.com