BWW Reviews: ANNA SOKOLOW WAY, A Tribute to Sokolow's Works and More
On Saturday evening, Sokolow Ensemble dance/play was performed at The Theater at the 14th Street Y. Under the artistic direction of Jim May, the group paid a most fitting tribute to Anna Sokolow's career which spanned much of the 20th century. The program was a part of Anna Sokolow Way with performances scheduled from December 4th to December 8th that included Sokolow Ensemble dance/play and Horse's Mouth.
The multi-disciplinary dance/play was conceived and directed by May who is also the founder of the company. May has been a dancer on the New York Scene for over 40 and a devoted disciple of Sokolow. He also participated in the program, providing extraordinary narrative framing for several of the pieces.
Sokolow is known internationally for her vast contributions to dance, music and theater. She was one of the most dynamic and uncompromising choreographers of all time. Sokolow began her career as a dancer with Martha Graham. In the early thirties she studied choreography with Louis Horst at The Neighborhood Playhouse and quickly became one of his most outstanding composition students and his assistant. Even after her death in 2000, her work has a profound effect on the course of contemporary dance. She founded the first modern dance companies in Israel and Mexico.
With rare archived footage the audience was able to appreciate Sokolow in her own words. "It's more important to do dreams than to be popular, and if you reach some people, that's enough." She also stated, "Art should be a reflection of contemporary life." The themes explored in her work clearly demonstrated how art can influence one's inner struggles and guide society.
The program featured highlights from Sokolow's works including Dreams, Rooms, and Opus 65, and Magritte, Magritte. In addition to the ensemble, teenagers from Ellen Robbins's School of Dance also performed.
From the Diaries of Franz Kafka-Metamorphosis, was just one example of the unique spirit of artistry that sets Sokolow's works apart. Kafka's text was deeply explored through the plight of Gregor in the dance piece.
The Sokolow Theater/Dance Ensemble is a refreshing blend of talented dancers and performers; not typified by body style, they are a multigenerational group. Most importantly, they share a total passion for their work and convey it in every piece.
More On: Jim May, Anna Sokolow, Martha Graham, Louis Horst, The Neighborhood Playhouse, Franz Kafka.