Klasse tracks back to the winter of 1938 in Jewish Hamburg, Germany at the height of WWII in an old school classroom kept just as it was during the war. The chairs, the desks, the chalkboards and the solid walls are reminders of the haunting fixity of place against the visceral trace of memories left as records of a tortuous time. The intimate cast brings to life a year of letters written there between young classmates as they left one by one on the Kindertransport, and features dancers from the US and Germany, as well as German middle school students. In bringing this mix of dancers together, Klasse relates historical material to experiences of classroom victimization and heroism among pre-teens in a contemporary context.
Malia Bruker is a filmmaker and Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Florida State University. Her recent hybrid documentary Chase is an inventive exploration of the banking industry that screened in festivals throughout the US, winning several awards. Her dance film Let’s Dance screened at Dance Film Association’s Kinetic Cinema: Dance on Camera Extended in 2012 and won Best Student Cinematography at American Dance Festival. Malia studied film and media production at Florida State University and Temple University, where she recently completed her MFA as a Graduate Fellow. Malia is currently working to distribute her short film Heirloom, an essay documentary exploring nostalgia, activism and community. Her article Narrativity in Dance for Camera, which uses David Bordwell’s framework on how fiction filmmakers communicate narrative meaning, is currently under review for publication.
Hannah Schwadron, Ph.D, MFA (UC Riverside, Critical Dance Studies and Experimental Choreography) is Assistant Professor of Dance History at Florida State University. Her scholarship focuses on the intersections of Jewish humor studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Dance and Performance Studies, and specifically probes questions of funniness and sexiness for contemporary Jewish female performers across stage and screen genres. Hannah continues to perform dance on related themes in intimate spaces nationally and internationally. As part of ongoing theory-practice research, Hannah curates Field Studies, an annual dance showcase that allows performers the space to develop projects with live audiences and peer review. She has taught courses at CUNY Queens College, UC Riverside and before that, as full-time teacher at Saint Elizabeth High School in Oakland, California.