5: Ballet music, excerpt of Leonard Bernstein’s Dybbuk Suite No. 2 - "Leah (Maiden's Dance)," 1974.
The celebrated composer Leonard Bernstein wrote the music for a Dybbuk-inspired ballet in 1974. Jerome Robbins was the choreographer. Bernstein used Kabbalistic numerical equivalencies to develop many of the musical motifs for the ballet. In Kabbalah, each letter corresponds to a number. According to this system, the name “Leah” has the numerical value of 36. Bernstein thus used rhythms corresponding to multiples of 9, 18, and 36 throughout the ballet.
Suggested activity: Have students listen to an excerpt of “Leah” from Leonard Bernstein’s Dybbuk ballet. Invite them to imagine a dance to this music. Perhaps they could draw a picture of what the music evokes for them, or use their bodies and dance to the music. Then, discuss: how does Bernstein’s music relate thematically to the play? To the character of Leah?
Leonard Bernstein, "Leah (Maiden's Dance)" from Dybbuk Suite No. 2, performed by the New York Philharmonic and conducted by Leonard Bernstein (Hamburg: Polydor International, 1981).