The William J. Cooper Foundation presents the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company in The Legacy Project on Friday, January 30, 2009 at 8 pm in the Pearson-Hall Theater, Lang Performing Arts Center, Swarthmore College. “With inventive choreography, original music compositions, and evocative metaphors, the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, offers [the] audience the dance equivalent of a cherished book of family photographs” (The New York Times). Based in Union, New Jersey, Carolyn Dorfman and the CDDC have spent the past 26 years redefining the scope of dance as a method of storytelling and community building. In particular, CDDC’s Legacy Project inspires and rouses its audience as it explores themes of family, struggle, and survival in light of the Jewish diaspora.
Described by critics as “ingenious” (The Star-Ledger) and ??emotionally resonant?? (The New York Times), the dances in the Legacy Project bring together Dorfman’s family stories, Jewish history, and a universal struggle for identity. Through this combination, Dorfman inspires in her audience feelings of familiarity and unity, creating dances that serve as metaphors for the greater truths of the human experience. “In her works, visual images become still photographs that capture and freeze certain universal truths…both reflect[ing] and engender[ing] a profound humanity. Because her dances are about people and life experience, often moving from the autobiographical to the universal, they hold immediate appeal” (The New York Times).
The Company’s Legacy Project spans the arrival of Jews in America from Brazil in 1654 (“Odisea”) through to the Holocaust (“Cat’s Cradle,” “The Klezmer Sketch”) and finally to American assimilation and contemporary struggles (“The American Dream”). Additionally, “Echad” explores personal and group dynamics within the context of religion, setting up a metaphor of struggle and togetherness that can be extended to all relations in the global community. “For many of the dances, the stories are about Dorfman’s family…Holocaust survivors and immigrants, but the magic is that this is also a work about all of us” (Asbury Park Press).
Known as a creator of provocative dances that reflect her concerns about the human condition, Dorfman is interested in creating “worlds” into which the audience can enter. Since founding her Company in 1982, she has created more than 50 works for CDDC and achieved a highly respected position among artists and arts institutions regionally, nationally and internationally. A Michigan native, she received her BFA in Dance from the University of Michigan and her MFA from New York University Tisch School for the Arts. She has been designated a Distinguished Artist and granted five Choreography Fellowships, including a 2004 Fellowship, by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (NJSCA), in addition to other choreography honors. Dorfman was the first artist to receive the prestigious, and nationally selected, Prudential Prize for Non-Profit Leadership in 1994. In 2004 she received the Jewish Women in the Arts Award for Dance from the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit and the Janice Charach Epstein Gallery.