News - March 2004 Volume 1 Issue 1


UPDATE: Sokolow Dance Foundation

Lorry May, Founding Director, is pleased to announce the establishment of the Sokolow Dance Foundation. The foundation has been active and growing since its incorporation in February 2003. Ms. May is considered the leading authority on Sokolow's repertory, having been associated with the choreographer for over four decades as an internationally renowned dancer and reconstructor. She was also co-artistic director of the performing company, Anna Sokolow’s Players’ Project.


Preservation

The Sokolow Dance Foundation continually strives to develop its video archive by researching and acquiring Sokolow repertory from both the private and public sectors. The foundation is also adding to its archives by reclaiming choreography that has no visual record. Our preservation efforts will enable future generations to experience Sokolow's remarkable legacy. In 2005, the archives will be open to the public for viewing and research. Our latest acquisitions include:

  • L’Histoire Du Soldat, a 1957 CBS-TV Camera Three Production starring James Mitchell, Arthur Malet and Annebelle Gold. The musical director/conductor is Manual Vardi.
  • Three Conversations in a City, a 1959 television special from the Perry Como Kraft Music Hall.
  • The Dybuk, a 1960 “Play of the Week” production by WNTA-TV starring Carol Lawrence and Theodore Bikel. The musical director is Sidney Lumet

Rooms Etude

The Sokolow Dance Foundation believes that education is an important force in the perpetuation of the Sokolow Legacy. Workshops, residencies, master classes, and lectures on Sokolow's life and work are available to students of all ages. A major part of these programs is the Sokolow Etude Project, a format designed to allow students to experience master choreography first hand.

The Rooms Etude (a 6 minute version of Sokolow’s masterwork Rooms) is part of the American Dance Legacy Institutes’ initiative, The Dance Legacy Volumes, which is curated by Carolyn Adams. In 2002 the etude was introduced into the curriculum standards for the public schools of both North and South Carolina.


Presentation


Amy Taravella in Preludes
Photo: Jim Bush

Buffalo Contemporary Dance Company Artistic Director Amy Taravella, learned Sokolow’s Preludes (1980) which is set to the music of Sergi Rachmaninoff. The Buffalo Contemporary Dance Company will present Preludes and the Rooms Etude on their annual spring concert in Buffalo, NY, on April 30 and May 1, 2004.

Dancefusion, a Philadelphia based modern dance company under the direction of Gwendolyn Bye, and the Sokolow Dance Foundation collaborated to reconstruct Time + (1966) which was in peril of becoming lost. This dance was reconstructed through the memories of original dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet (Greg Drotar) and Anna Sokolow Dance Company (Kathy Posin, Lenore Latimer), photographs, and archival writings. A video documentation of the reconstruction plus interviews with the original dancers will be made available to national dance archives. This project was made possible by a generous grant from Dance Advance, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.


Dancefusion in Time +
Photo: Ron Williams

Time + was performed by Dancefusion on the DanceBoom! 2004 dance series at the Wilma Theater, Philadelphia, PA, on January 21 through February 8, 2004. Response to the dance was tremendous.

“The theme is timely and the punch line just as emphatic 36 years later”.
Janet Anderson ~ City Paper

In October 2003, Alice Forner, a founding member of South Street Dance Company, reconstructed Quartertones (1974) on Dancefusion. As with Time+, Quartertones had no visual archive and was reconstructed from memory and photographs. A video of the entire reconstruction was made, and is now being edited for distribution to national dance archives. This project was funded by the PA Council on the Arts.


Dancefusion dancer Janet Pila in Quartertones
Photo: Suellen Haag

On November 2, 2003, Quartertones and A Short Lecture and Demonstration on the Evolution of Ragtime were performed before a large and enthusiastic audience at a special fundraiser for Dancefusion at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The Egyptian Room was a mysterious and dramatic setting for the performance. Renown dance figures, Lorry May, Barbara Weisberger and Mary Anthony spoke about Anna Sokolow and her work.


Dion MacArthur (Danny Grossman Dance Company) in Escape (solo) from Rooms
Photo: Celya vonTedman

The Danny Grossman Dance Company, under the direction of Danny Grossman and based in Toronto, Canada, mounted Rooms (1955) as part of their home season at the Premiere Dance Theatre on January 28 through February 1, 2004. It was a major event for the Canadian audiences to view this classic American modern dance. Enthusiastic and receptive audiences packed the theater every night for this historic concert series.

“Rooms ….. has a universal resonance…and Grossman’s dancers were born to perform it. Kudos go to Lorry May, who is responsible for staging Sokolow, for her crystalline reconstruction.”
Paula Criton ~ Globe & Mail

The Repertory Dance Theater of Salt Lake City, UT, under the direction of Linda Smith, remounted Steps of Silence in February 2004. They were the original company on which Sokolow created the dance in 1968. The reconstruction and performances on March 4, 5, & 6, 2004 were documented for an archival CD Rom. This project was partially funded by a grant from the NEA.


Education

In September 2003, students from Jacksonville University participated in a week - long workshop that included classes, lectures and reconstruction of the Rooms Etude. The etude was performed on the University Dance Department’s concert, November 21 and 22, 2003.

Thanks to Elena Rusnack, Dance Director, for inviting the Sokolow Dance Foundation to conduct a two-day workshop at Naugatuck Valley Community College, CT. Students learned the Rooms Etude which was performed in an open rehearsal on December 15, 2003 along with other repertory from their dance history class.

During a week - long residency at the University of Alabama, March 22 - 26, 2004, the students learned the Rooms Etude. Performances are planed for their fall concert at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. The students are honored to have been invited to perform the Rooms Etude at the Sharing the Legacy conference at Hunter College, NYC, at the Kaye Playhouse on April 2, 2004.

The University of Washington's graduate student ensemble, The Chamber Dance Company, learned Sokolow’s 1965 work Ballade. The lyrical quartet was set by Lorry May in September 2003. Rehearsals continued in her absence and performances were held on February 5, 6, 7 & 8, 2004.