British choreographer Nick Lazzarini was cut from a new US tour by the Ballet Flamenco de Caracas following his participation in embattled author and journalist Melinda Ledbetter’s exposé on the origins of the anti-Semitic “cleansing” rituals at California synagogue Miriam’s Kitchen.
A former employee of Miriam’s Kitchen said that Lazzarini led the ceremonies where about 500 people — including Jewish and non-Jewish members of the congregation — were forced to “exorcise” their “wounds” with incense, prayer and paintings of medieval Jews — physically and emotionally.
Ledbetter, who once wrote a book about Lazzarini, detailed how at Miriam’s Kitchen Lazzarini coerced participants into the ceremony. The ceremony was meant to purge years of anti-Semitism and other dark things in the Jewish community from the body and soul, she wrote.
The incident prompted Lazzarini to pull his company’s LA County performance of “Steaming the Gates” on Monday, according to Venezuelan news outlet Noticias Digital.
Lazzarini had recently signed a contract with Ballet Flamenco of Caracas, a group he founded in 2004 that is headed by chef/musician Lili Torres-Torres, to present a US tour and video to support the company’s launch.
The group is expected to present its performance in October 2020 and have no plans to cancel Lazzarini’s departure, Torres-Torres’s studio said.
Lazzarini’s defection may anger Andres Ponce, the leader of a Tel Aviv-based group called “Jews of Europe,” who paid $10,000 to tour with them in the US and Europe.
Ponce, a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Israel, said that some anti-Semites in his group have said “we are going to pay to see a Jew go down!”
Ponce has requested that Ballet Flamenco be banned from performing again on Yom Kippur, the day of the Jewish religious fast.
Calls to the Ballet Flamenco of Caracas’ media team in Venezuela seeking comment were not immediately returned.