Sokolow Dance Co. Bring Rarely Seen Sokolow Works to the Stage
SOKOLOW THEATRE/DANCE ENSEMBLE, in its first season under the artistic direction of Samantha Geracht, will appear in rarely seen works by legendary American modern dance pioneer Anna Sokolow, including her Moods, which has not been performed since the late 1970's, along with Dreams and Preludes. The Company will be joined by guests Jennifer Conley, former soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company, performing Sokolow's solo Poem, and Clarence Brooks, former Company member, in ?Sweet in the Morning, ?by choreographer Leni Wylliams. Four performances, March 8-11 at the Mark O'Donnell Theater at the Actors Fund Arts Center, 160 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn.
The March season is the first under the artistic direction of Samantha Geracht, a Company dancer since 1992. Ms. Geracht was appointed by Jim May, artistic director and inheriter of the Sokolow repertory upon the choreographer's passing in 2000. May will continue to work with the company, but significant autonomy has been passed to Geracht as new artistic director, joined by dedicated veteran company members Eleanor Bunker, Lauren Naslund, Francesca Todesco, and Luis Gabriel Zaragoza, all authorized to direct and reconstruct works from Sokolow's vast repertory. The Company remains the major custodian of the vast repertory of Sokolow works. One of its missions is to find and restore dances by Ms. Sokolow which, like all of her work, offer audiences arresting experiences of timeless truths.
Sokolow's Moods, set to Gyorgyi Ligeti's 10 Pieces for Wind Quintet, was created for the Daniel Lewis'Contemporary Dance System in the 1970's and not seen since that time. Lauren Naslund discovered a video excerpt of the long-lost dance two years ago and was intrigued by its emotional and physical intensity. "The company's dancers are eager to take risks physically and emotionally," remarked Naslund, adding that "the sudden changes of feeling and atmosphere in 'Moods' are very challenging. It's been a real pleasure for me to see the piece come to life."
The Company dancers remain true to Sokolow's vision and work ethic. Indeed, in a 1976 interview with a New York Times reporter, Sokolow, in a typically candid interview, expressed her distaste for dancers "who want it too easy. I work more and more, and I am never satisfied. For me dance is a language to communicate feelings, and I never lie. It's my sense of justice. It doesn't make me popular, but I don't give a damn."
Sokolow's 1961 Dreams was driven by her nightmares of the Holocaust. Set to music by Macero, Bach and Webern, the masterpiece penetrates the most terrifying realms of human experience, demanding that we see the humanity of persecution's victims. Clive Barnes, reviewing in the New York Times, called the work "...one of the most shattering and the most impressive of contemporary dance theater."
In a lighter mood, Sokolow turned to the preludes of George Gershwin for Preludes, based in social dance of the 30's, recalling the simple elegance and restrained sensuality of that time.
The Company welcomes guests Jennifer Conley, former principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, who will perform Sokolow's Poem, a lyrical and uplifting solo set to music by Ernest Bloch.
Former Sokolow company member Clarence Brooks will return to dance Sweet in the Morning, by Leni Wylliams (1982-1996). A tribute to Wylliams' mentors Eleo Pomare and Talley Beatty, the solo is set to the vocal musings of Bobby McFerrin and is a sojourn connecting the living who mourn, to the deceased who respond "Do not grieve for me for I am at peace."