News - March 2009 Volume 6 Issue 1


Preservation
The Archival Library

After numerous years of unsuccessfully searching for two distinct Sokolow choreographies which were specifically created for television by Group W, the foundation is proud to announce that we have located and obtained them.

And the Disciples Departed, a searing statement on social injustice, was choreographed for broadcast in 1967 for WBZ-TV, Boston, MA. This film, featuring members of the Anna Sokolow Dance Company, music by Teo Macero and text and narration by Barry Ulanov, won a prestigious Broadcast Media Award.

Constructive Rebellion is a site specific work created at Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Falling Water” estate. This juxtaposition of dance and architectural beauty was broadcast in 1968 for Channel 2, Pittsburgh, PA.

Both films were directed by Thomas Knott and have proudly taken their place in the foundation’s extensive archive collection.


SOKOLOW NOW!
Anna Sokolow Archival Dance Company

Sokolow Now! was guest artist with Dancefusion, a modern dance company based in Philadelphia, during their season on March 7,8, 2008 at the Annenberg Center, University of PA. The program consisted of historic reconstructions, and Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter, Sokolow's solo choreographed in 1941, held a place of honor. The audiences raved about the depth and quality of these early modern dance classics.


Sokolow Now! in Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter
Photo: Tom Bowling

A joint concert with Sokolow Now! and Contrapose Dance Company, a Boston-based contemporary ballet company, was presented on May 2-4, 2008 at the Green Street Studios in Cambridge, MA. Repertory included As I Remember, a trio of solos choreographed by Sokolow in the 1930's and 1940's. and four excerpts from Sokolow's masterwork, Rooms. All three nights were sold out, and the audiences were captivated by the brilliance of Sokolow's work.


Sokolow Now! in As I Remember (L) and Rooms (R)
Photo: Tom Bowling

On March 14, 2009, Sokolow Now! performed Preludes at Brown University, Providence, RI. The performance was a celebration of five local modern dance companies under the sponsorship of the American Dance Legacy Institute. Preludes was beautifully performed by Kirsten McKinney and Courtney Peix and was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience.


Education

The 10th annual National Dance Education Organization conference was held on June 25-28, 2008 at Towson University, Towson, Maryland. Suellen Haag conducted a workshop called "Living the Legend and the Legacy" based on Sokolow's masterwork Dreams. The students thoroughly enjoyed the workshop.


Suellen Haag teaching at the 2008 NDEO Conference

"Suellen presented the work with such passion and sincere commitment. Her love of the work is contagious.....She makes me remember why I fell in love with Anna's work from my very first experience."

Tracy Pattison, Assistant Artistic Director of Verlezza Dance

The University of Wyoming began reconstruction on Ride the Culture Loop during the summer month of August, 2008. This was the first time the University reconstructed a Sokolow work, thanks to Margaret Wilson, faculty member of the dance department. The eager students found rehearsals stimulating and rewarding.


Lorry May teaching Ride the Culture Loop at the University of Wyoming
Photo: Dave Andrews Photography

On September 27, 2008, Lorry May held a master class on Sokolow technique and repertory at the Green Street Studios, Cambridge, MA. The class was very well attended by the local dance community, and the students thrived within the technique of classical modern dance. The participants ranged from professional dancers to students from performing arts high schools.

Elena Rusnak, Director of the Dance Department at Naugatuck Valley Community College, invited the Sokolow Dance Foundation back for the seventh consecutive year. On October 27, and November 3, 2008, workshops were held and students learned the Daydream and Panic sections from Sokolow's masterpiece Rooms. The students presented the Rooms excerpts with commitment and enthusiasm in a studio showing as part of their dance history course.

Leslie Woodies, dance faculty at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, sponsored Lorry May to hold a workshop with her theater students on November 6, 2008. This two-hour workshop was comprised of technique, improvisation, and monologue development. The students learned new physical awareness tools which will help them meet their future goals.

Lorry May returned to the University of Wyoming November 12-18, 2008 to coach Ride the Culture Loop into performance. Performances were held at the University of Wyoming Fine Arts Main Stage on November 18-22, 2008. The students did a brilliant job and the audiences were deeply impressed.


University of Wyoming students in Ride the Culture Loop
Photo: Dave Andrews Photography

Bridgewater State College Dance Department, under the direction of Nancy Moses, received an American Masterpieces:Dance grant from the NEA to reconstruct Dreams and Everything Must Go on the students. This three month residency began January 21, 2009 and will conclude on April 2,3,4, 2009 with performances by Sokolow Now! and the Bridgewater students. The residency was in two components. The first component was the college's performing ensemble of nine dancers. These students learned Session for Six, a quick, whimsical dance re-staged for nine dancers, and two sections of Dreams. The second component was Everything Must Go, the first reconstruction of this social political dance since its premiere in 1982. This reconstruction was open to any student in the dance department and the cast was finally settled at 20 dancers. The students are looking forward to working with Sokolow Now! in the up-coming April performances.

Elizabeth Dibble, a student from SUNY Purchase, NY, traveled to Attleboro. MA to learn Preludes for her graduating concert. She learned this lively tour-de-force solo set to the romantic melody of Rachmaninoff's Opus 23, #2 . Elizabeth beautifully interpreted the work with passion and clarity.


Repertory

Suellen Haag (Managing Director of SDF) and Kirsten McKinney (Marketing Director of SDF ) traveled to Paris to participate in the "Dance is a Weapon" conference held April 3-7, 2008 at the Centre National de la Danse. "Dance is a Weapon" was a photographic exhibit honoring the New Dance Group of NYC. Ms. Haag and Ms. McKinney were actively involved in the exhibit which documented the life and work of Anna Sokolow. Highlight of the conference was the performance of Magritte, Magritte, performed by the Hermesdance Company of Bern, Switzerland. Sokolow choreographed Magritte, Magritte in 1970, and Lorry May (Artistic Director of SDF) reconstructed the dance on the company in 2007.


Hermesdance in Magritte, Magritte
Photo: Oliver Dahler

Daniel Phoenix Singh, Artistic Director of Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company, commissioned his second acquisition, September Sonnet and As I Remember, from the foundation. Reconstruction took place April 28th through May 9th and performances were held at Dance Place in Washington, DC on May 10, 11, 2008. The dances were beautifully performed, exhibiting the scope and power of Sokolow's choreography.


DDP Singh Dance Company in September Sonnet

"September Sonnet favors simplicity: a stretch of the arms, a gentle epaulment of the shoulders that lays bare the tenderest area of the heart, a reaching lunge, a caring touch. It's clear why Singh has been so taken with the Sokolow oeuvre: it's crystalline, shape-oriented, laden with emotional cadences but not in any way melodramatic or treacly."

Lisa Traiger, D.C. Dance Watcher

Joseph Cicala engaged the foundation to reconstruct September Sonnet for performance in Philadelphia, PA on May 10, 2009. Rehearsals were held in Philadelphia during December 8-12, 2008. Mr. Cicala and his partner, Janet Pilla, have danced in previous Sokolow reconstructions during their association with Dancefusion , a Philadelphia based modern dance company under the direction of Gwendolyn Bye. The performance will be held at the Annenberg Center at the University of PA on May 9, 2009.