Now, 40 years later, The Sarah Sommer Chai Folk Ensemble (Sommer died in 1969) is no longer dancing in basements or clicking their heels to accordion music. The nonprofit troupe is run by a board of directors and has a full artistic staff, including costume designers, choreographers from Israel and Argentina, and a technical team that ensures that Sommer's Israeli folk-dancing vision stays alive. The troupe itself now numbers 47 -- including eight vocalists, nine musicians and 20 dancers. They perform in large venues all over the world.
In an ironic twist that Bertolt Brecht would have appreciated, his legendary Berliner Ensemble will make its American debut at UCLA July 7 to 11, and then lower the curtain permanently.