Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Belle Didja


Born in New York, America, she was educated in a public school as well as a high school. 

As a child she also studied at the National Workers Association Jewish Elementary School. As a very young child she began to learn dancing with Dorsha Alex, Katshetovski and Michel Fokine. Later she attended the Metropolitan Opera House Ballet School, passed the annual exam and was chosen to participate in the Opera House’s ballet troupe.

After two seasons with the troupe, Didja went to study at the Laban School of Dance in Bayreuth, Germany and later at the Wigman School in Dresden and then in Berlin.

Upon returning to New York, Didja made her debut in 1929 as concert-dancer at the Martin Beck Theatre and was praised by The New Yorker’s dance critic.

Since then she have given dance concerts in America, Europe, Asia, South America and the State of Israel. Into her repertoire, she brought Yiddish and religious dances, such as “The Quarrel Dance” -- music  especially written by Abe Ellstein, ”Bar Mitzvah”, “After the Burial” and “Monish” - music by Abe Ellstein;  the ballet was performed with her group dancers.

Didja choreographed a succession of English productions on Broadway and at the Yiddish [Art] Theatre, e.g. Sholem Aleichem’s “Yossele the Nightingale”, L. Treister’s “ The Shepherd King” directed by Maurice Schwartz was not only an actor-as you well know- but also a stage, Abraham Ninio- further down- was director of Habima]  by Maurice Schwartz, Abraham Goldfaden’s “Sambation” directed by Viera Haken, “The Singer of His Sorrow” directed by Joseph Buloff, Yigal Mosenzon’s “The Fight for the Thief”[?] directed by  Abraham Ninio and Sammy Gronemann’s “The King and the Cobbler” directed by David Licht, produced via the “Folksbiene” and I. Yash’s[?] ” The First Swallow” directed by A. Ben-Zvi, produced in “Unzer Theatre”.

Didja produced the dances for the great celebrations of Yeshiva College, for the third Seder of the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) and other celebrations.

Sh. E.

Zalmen Zylbercweig -- “Theatre Mosaic”, New York, 1941, pp.50-54.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2236.

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