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Theatrical dance performance explores Jewish heritage and the Holocaust

NEW LONDON, Conn. - Rebecca Pappas, a 2001 graduate of Connecticut College, returns to her alma mater March 28 with "Monster," a theatrical dance piece that combines the beautiful and grotesque in an exploration of Jewish heritage and shame. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. in Myers Studio, third floor of the College Center at Crozier-Williams. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for students at the door.

Inspired by sources as varied as the photos of Cindy Sherman, the "Zionist Body" and the creation of the Barbie doll, "Monster" has been in creation for three years and is the culmination of five shorter monster "portraits" that have been presented throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. In the evening-length piece, Pappas immerses the viewer in a world where the line between human and monster grows increasingly thin. Dancers crumble and reform. Creatures in oversized breasts and prosthetic noses storm across the stage. Faceless fiends dart wildly, wielding office lamps like guns - displaying the monster of the Holocaust, the monster of the shtetl, and the monster of Israeli aggression.

The Los Angeles Times called Monster "compelling" and said "Pappas invoked the memory of former wars while detailing how the body remembers."

Pappas recently moved to Los Angeles from the Bay Area where she was known for creating intricate, detailed dances that are at once awkward and delicate. She has taught dance at the University of California at Berkeley and UCLA and has presented her work in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.

The piece was made possible with support from the Mellon Committee for Research on the Holocaust, the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies, a commissioning grant from Saint Joseph Ballet and support from the Upstart Series at UCLA.

About Connecticut College

Situated on the coast of southern New England, Connecticut College is a highly selective private liberal arts college with 1900 students from all across the country and throughout the world. On the college's 750-acre arboretum campus overlooking Long Island Sound, students and faculty create a vibrant social, cultural and intellectual community enriched by diverse perspectives. The college, founded in 1911, is known for its unique combination of interdisciplinary studies, international programs, funded internships, student-faculty research and service learning.

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March 5, 2009