News: March 2008 Volume 5 Issue 1

Anna Sokolow Archival Dance Company

The company was invited to perform at a benefit performance for Community Systems, Inc., an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of the severely disabled.  As I Remember, a suite of three dances created by Anna Sokolow for her early solo concerts, was chosen for the performance which was held on July 26, 2007 at the Sandwich High School, Sandwich, MA.

The suite opens with Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter, choreographed in 1941 to the music of Silvestre Revueltas.  Inspired by Sokolow's early years in Mexico City, this dance dramatically summarizes the life of a professional matador.

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

The second movement in the suite is Ballad in a Popular Style choreographed in 1936. This delightful dance captures the essence of a summer day.  Light and airy, this charming frolic was reconstructed to a playful score by Chick Cora.

Sokolow Now! in Ballade in a Popular Style
Photo: Tom Bowling

The suite closes with Sokolow's signature 1945 solo, Kaddish. Using her Jewish heritage as inspiration for the choreography, she set the dance to Maurice Ravel's music of the same name. Kaddish is a powerfully personal interpretation of the Jewish prayer for the dead.

Sokolow Now! in Kaddish
Photo: Tom Bowling


Susan Dibble, chair of the Theatre Department at Brandies University, Waltham, MA, engaged the Sokolow Dance Foundation to conduct a two-day  Sokolow Legacy Workshop on April 16 and 23, 2007.   Dreams served as the basis for the workshop which consisted of technique and repertory classes.  The students found the classes both invigorating and thought-provoking.

Members of the Sokolow Now! company conducted daily classes in technique as part of a four-week workshop at the American Academy of Dance, Mansfield, MA on July 16 through August 9, 2007.  The summer intensive, which is under the direction of Stephanie Moy, culminated in a studio performance that highlighted the talents of these aspiring young dancers.

Elena Rusnak, Director of the Dance Department at Naugatuck Valley Community College, invited the Sokolow Dance Foundation back for the sixth consecutive year.  During this two-day workshop held October 8 and 15, 2007, students learned the Rooms Etude, a shortened     version of Anna Sokolow's masterpiece, Rooms.  The etude was presented in a studio showing as part of their dance history.

Quantum Leap, a musical theatre intensive under the direction of Leslie Woodies, held it third annual  summer workshop at the Dance Complex, Boston, MA on August 13-17, 2007.  Pre-professional students enjoyed classes in ballet, modern, jazz, acting, and voice.  Members of the Sokolow Dance Foundation taught the modern and movement for actors component during this exciting week-long event.

A master class of Sokolow's technique and repertory was held on February 8, 2008 as part of the American College Dance Festival's roster of dance events.  Historic Connecticut College, New London, CT was the venue for this annual New England Regional Conference.   It was great to see familiar faces participating in the workshop.


Ms May flew to St. Olaf College to coach the cast of Dreams for their presentation at the Kelsey Theater on the St. Olaf College campus May 1-5, 2007.  This group of talented young dancers was awarded with a standing ovation for their strong, mature performances. These performances marked the end of a residency which began during the fall semester of 2006.

St Olaf College students in Dreams
Photo:  Eric Saulitis

The Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company's Artistic Director, Daniel Singh, commissioned the reconstruction of Kaddish, one of Sokolow's early solos dated 1945.  Rehearsals took place in Silver Springs, MD during March 9-11. 2007  The company premiered Kaddish at the Greenberg Theater, Washington, DC on March 31 through April 1, 2007.  Mr. Singh so enjoyed this experience with Sokolow's choreography that he has commissioned another work for his company to present during his spring season in  2008.

Kathy Hassinger, Artistic Director of Dance Currents, a Boston-based modern dance company, commissioned the Rooms Etude to be performed as part of her concert at the Green Street Studios, Cambridge, MA on July 26, 2007.  The Rooms Etude, a nine minute solo which distills Anna Sokolow's evening length work Rooms. was danced by Deborah Friedes in an extremely moving performance.  This is the second time that Dance Currents commissioned a Sokolow work for their repertory.

Dance Currents in Rooms Etude
Photo: Rich Hassinger

Valerie Mockabe, Associate Dean of the Arts Department, used the labanotation score to set Steps of Silence on the students of Ohio State University.  Upon completion of the reconstruction, the work was coached in a three-day whirlwind residency.   Kudos to Ms. Mockabee and her cast of Steps of Silence for being one of the thirteen universities selected nationally to present a historic reconstruction at the annual Sharing The Legacy concert, Hunter College, NYC, March 14 and 15, 2008.  Steps of Silence will also be presented during the dance department's annual spring concert at Ohio State University.

Lorry May coaching OSU students in Steps of Silence
Photo: SDF

Linda Smith, Artistic Director of Repertory Dance Theatre, Salt Lake City, UT, commissioned Lyric Suite for a duration of three years.  The 50 minute dance was coached during the company's August break, and performances were held at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Salt Lake City, on October 4-6, 2007.  In addition to presenting Lyric Suite in the company's fall season, sections of this 1954 classic will be part of "Time Capsule - A Century of Dance", Repertory Dance Theatre's extensive educational touring program.  This program will reach audiences throughout Utah, Nevada, Montana, Oregon, Washington state, and Colorado.

RTD in Lyric Suite
Photo: Scott Peterson

We would like to thank Linda Smith and her company, Repertory Dance Theater,  for helping to keep the Sokolow Legacy alive by actively maintaining Sokolow's master works in the company's repertory.