Art Hounds: A new interpretation of 'The Snow Queen'

The Art Hounds recommend an immigration story from Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company and mixed media art in Rochester.

Poster of "The Snow Queen."
Ballet Co.Laboratory will premiere "The Snow Queen," a new ballet made for film to help audiences hold on to their tradition of taking in a special holiday performance, on Dec. 19 and 20.
Courtesy of Ballet Co. Laboratory

Doris Rubenstein of Richfield, Minn., learned all about Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company while writing her book Setting the Stage about Jewish theater in the Upper Midwest. She is looking forward to the theater’s online production of “Operation Immigration,” a one-man play written and performed by Avi Aharoni. Aharoni’s father was born in Iran, immigrated first to Israel, and later Minnesota. Aharoni explores the identities of Iranian Jew, Israeli and Minnesotan in this production, which premiered during the 2019 Fringe Festival.

The performance at Minnesota Jewish Theatre aired earlier this fall and is streaming online for a second run, aligned with the beginning of Hanukkah. The dates are Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Susana di Palma of Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre in Minneapolis recommended a new holiday tradition this year: a ballet performance of “The Snow Queen” by Ballet Co.Laboratory in St. Paul. The original ballet is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story. In this version by Zoe Emilie Henrot, young Gerda goes on a quest to save her brother who is struck by an “icy fragment” from the queen’s magic mirror.

The ballet is set to the music of British composer Dame Ethel Smyth, whose work has received new recognition. The show features the company of Ballet Co.Laboratory and more than 70 student dancers, filmed to be viewed from home. Creators embraced the alternative format, with magical results, di Palma said. The ballet is available for streaming at 7 p.m. on Dec. 19 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 20.

Detail of an art exhibit.
A detailed look at "Reclamation: Motherhood Series No. 7, 2020" by Cassandra Buck, featuring acrylic, embroidery floss and wool.
Courtesy of Tiffany Alexandria of Choochoo-ca-Chew

Trombonist John Sievers keeps an ear on the Rochester, Minn., music scene, but this week, he had a visual arts exhibit to recommend: Cassandra Buck’s “Reclamation,” which combines painting with fiber arts. Buck’s large paintings “catch your attention from a distance. They’re really bold with bright colors and big strokes,” said Sievers.

From close up, Sievers found his attention drawn to the detailed embroidery of the canvas itself. Buck’s work is on display through Jan. 3 at Threshold Art’s new gallery and storefront, which opened late last month in downtown Rochester. 

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment‘s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.