Anyone who caught last night’s episode of “So You Think You Can Dance” may have noticed a bit of Hebrew going on.
The reality show featured a number performed by contestants Chehon Wespi-Tschopp and Kathryn McCormick. The concept of the dance had an incredibly immigrant feel to it, set off by the choice of song: “Eli, Eli (A Walk to Caesarea)” by Jewish musician Sophie Milman.
The song includes lyrics from a poem written by Hannah Senesh, a young woman with a remarkable story herself. Hannah famously joined the Mandate Palestine parachutists in World War II, dropping into Yugoslavia in an attempt to enter Hungary and free Jews about to be deported to the death camps.
Hannah, just 22 at the time, was discovered and arrested, before being tortured for days then executed.
Her poem, “Eli, Eli,” is regarded as a classic Hebrew work, with lyrics that translate: “My God, My God/The sand and the sea/The rustle of the waters/Lightning of the heavens/The prayer of man/The voice called and I went/I went because the voice called.”
In explaining the theme of last night’s SYTYCD routine, choreographer Tyce Diorio said he wanted to capture the feeling of losing everything, and still carrying on.
J-Connection: Hannah Senesh was Jewish.