Anna Sokolow


Anna Sokolow

Anna Sokolow (February 9, 1910, Hartford, Connecticut – March 29, 2000 in New York City, New York) was a Jewish American dancer and choreographer.

Training

Sokolow began studying dance and performing with instructors at the Emanuel Sisterhood Settlement House; in early adolescence, she left school to train full time. [Larry Warren, "Anna Sokolow: The Rebellious Spirit" (London and New York: Routledge, 1998), 8. ISBN 9057021846.] She began studying in earnest at what became the Neighborhood Playhouse, where her teachers included Blanche Talmud, Bird Larson, Martha Graham and Louis Horst. [Warren, "Anna Sokolow", 11-17.]

Career

She started her professional career in 1929 as a member of Martha Graham's company. Beginning in the 1930s, she affiliated herself with the politicized "radical dance" movement, out of which developed her work "Anti-War Trilogy" (1933). [ [http://jwa.org/exhibits/wov/sokolow/radical.html Anna Sokolow: Radical Dance] . Accessed 1-3-2008.] By 1936, she had organized her first company, Dance Unit. Sokolow was also associated with the socially conscious collective the New Dance Group and the larger Workers Dance League. According to dance historian Ellen Graff, Sokolow's work with these groups was instrumental in transforming the "agitprop style" associated with early political dance by melding it with "emerging professional and artistic standards in 'new' dance." [Ellen Graff, "Stepping Left: Dance and Politics in New York City, 1928-1942" (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997), 52-53. ISBN 0822319489.] Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, she performed and choreographed both solo and ensemble works, which tackled subject matter that included the exploitation of workers and growing troubles of Jews in Germany. Several works from this period, including "Anti-War Trilogy", were set to music by the composer Alex North. [Sanya Shoilevska Henderson, "Alex North, Film Composer" (Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press, 2003), 226. ISBN 0786414707.]

In 1939, Sokolow began a life-long association with the dance in Mexico and Israel. Her work for the Mexican Ministry of Fine Arts facilitated the establishment of the National Academy of Dance. In Israel, she choreographed for major dance companies, including Batsheva, Inbal, and the Lyric Theatre.

Sokolow created works full of dramatic contemporary imagery, revealing the full spectrum of human experience and reflecting the tension and alienation of her time. "Rooms" (1955) dealt with urban alienation, while "Dreams" (1961) grew from the horrors of the Holocaust. Other major modern dance works included "Lyric Suite" (1954), "Odes" (1965), and "Opus 65" (1965). In 1991, Anna Kisselgoff summed up Sokolow's aesthetic as "American Expressionism," and commented that "Stillness is a large part of her choreography, and Miss Sokolow can sum up a state of being -- an entire society -- in an arrested pose." [Anna Kisselgoff, "Sokolow Takes a Bow for 50 Years," [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE5DC153AF933A15752C0A967958260 "New York Times" 20-1-1991] . Accessed 1-3-2008.]

In addition to her work as a choreographer, Sokolow was also an influential teacher of both dance and movement for actors. At Juilliard, she taught what she called "method dancing" from 1958 to 1993. [Andrea Olmstead, "Juilliard: A History" (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1999), 202-203. ISBN 0252071069.]

Repertory

Since the dispersal of Anna Sokolow's company -- Players' Project -- in 2004, her repertory has been performed by the [http://www.sokolowtheaterdance.org/ Sokolow Theatre Dance Ensemble] under the direction of her protege, Jim May. Several of Sokolow's works were filmed and are held at the [http://www.nypl.org New York Public Library] in its Dance Division.

Works for Broadway

*"Noah" (1935) - play with music by Louis Horst - co-choreographer
*"Sing for Your Supper" (1939) - revue - co-choreographer
*"Street Scene" (1947) - musical - choreographer
*"The Great Campaign" (1947) - play - choreographer
*"Sleepy Hollow" (1948) - musical - choreographer
*"Regina" (1949) - opera - choreographer
*"Happy as Larry" (1950) - musical - choreographer
*"Camino Real" (1953) - play - directing assistant
*"Red Roses for Me" (1955) - play - choreographer - Tony Nomination for Best Choreography
*"Candide" (1956) - operetta - choreographer
*"Copper and Brass" (1957) - musical - choreographer
*"Clothes for a Summer Hotel" (1980) - dance consultant

References

External links

* [http://www.sokolowtheatredance.org/company.html Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble]
* [http://www.annasokolow.org/ Sokolow Dance Foundation]
* [http://www.jwa.org/exhibits/wov/sokolow/ Women of Valor exhibit on Anna Sokolow] at the [http://www.jwa.org Jewish Women's Archive]
* [http://www.ibdb.com/person.asp?ID=1453 Anna Sokolow] at the Internet Broadway Database
* [http://www.yair-haklai.co.il/ Anna Sokolow from My Point of View] (website by a Sokolow student)
* [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1083/is_7_74/ai_63257061 Obituary] from Dance Magazine.


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