Lea Bergstein: The Signature of a Dancer. The New Hebrew Dance and its European Roots (1920—1948)
Within the context of Zionist ambitions in British Mandate Palestine and starting with the 1930s, dance artists purposefully attempted to create a new autochthonous Hebrew festival and folk dance culture. Particularly, strongly ideologized imaginaries of a new Jewish body positioned dance at the heart of contemporary cultural and political discourses. However, the new Hebrew dance was in fact closely related to European dance modernity, due to the strong involvement of originally German dancers.
Against this background, Bengough explores the trailblazing work of the dancer Lea Bergstein (1902—1989), who was active in Palestine since 1925. The project portrays the development of Bergstein’s artistic practice through archival sources, historiographic methods of dance and performance studies as well as from cultural theoretical perspectives. The focus of the study lies on questions of cultural continuity and translation as well as artistic creativity within transnational interrelations.
Lukas Bengough studied Theatre, Film and Media Studies at the University of Vienna and Theatre Directing at Tel Aviv University. His dissertation at the universities of Salzburg and Tel Aviv explores the oeuvre of the dancer-choreographer Lea Bergstein (1902–1989), in the context of European dance modernity and the new Hebrew dance in Mandatory Palestine. He was involved in numerous theatre productions in Europe and Israel and teaches at Tel Aviv University since 2015. He researches the administrative archive of the Hebrew Habima Theatre at the Israeli Center for the Documentation of the Performing Arts at Tel Aviv University, and was granted a scholarship by the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for this work in 2018/2019.
Buchrezension: Dancing Europe. Identities, Languages, Institutions, in: Nicole Haitzinger und Alexandra Kolb (Hg.), Dance Research Vol. 40.2., München 2022, S. 267–268; »Drawing Against Adversity Democratizing Movement: The Dancers Collection Milein Cosman«, in: Nicole Haitzinger und Anja Manfredi (Hg.), For Milein Cosman, Paris Lodron Universität Salzburg 2021 (https://www.plus.ac.at/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/MileinCosman_Lichtzeichnungen-von-Anja-Manfredi.pdf)
Eine Fotografie von 1946 zeigt die Tänzerin und Choreografin Lea Bergstein (1902–1989) auf sandigem Grund, unter freiem Himmel tanzend. Aufgenommen vor Palmen und Zypressen, steht diese expressive Pose sinnbildlich für Bergsteins Suche nach einem eigenständigen körperlichen Ausdruck im neuen hebräischen Tanz.