New ballet, ‘Light in the Dark,” celebrates Jewish WW II resistance fighter
Florence Waren worked as part of the French resistance
The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has announced its 2023-’24 lineup, and the season kicks off with a work of particular interest to the Jewish community.
The world premiere of “Light in the Dark” is Oct. 27-29. The ballet’s story celebrates the life of Florence Waren, a Jewish dancer who lived in Paris and was part of the French Resistance during World War II.
When Germany occupied France, Jews were ordered to register with the Nazis, but Waren was urged by the owner of a music hall not to do so. She took his advice and went undetected, working as a smuggler and supplying guns to the resistance.
The work is choreographed by Jennifer Archibald and presented in partnership with the Violins of Hope Greater Pittsburgh. PBT officials called the choreography “haunting,” saying it emphasizes Waren’s harrowing experiences.
Two other ballets complete “Light in the Dark”: Sasha Jones’ “Loss” is a portrait of a couple dealing with the death of a child, and “Lacrimosa,” choreographed by Anabelle Lopez Ochoa, features dance inspired by religious artwork.
The 2023-24 season is the PBT’s first with new Artistic Director Adam W. McKinney.
McKinney is a Milwaukee native who attended a Jewish day school before studying at the Milwaukee Ballet School and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
PBT’s season continues with “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 8-28; “Beauty and the Beast,” Feb. 16-25; “Spring Mix,” April 5-7; and “Cinderella, “May 17-19.” PJC