By Jen Dayton
Looking for something creative, captivating and contemporary to set your eyes on? The opportunity to see the David Dorfman Dance Company in action is coming to the campus at Brockport. In the upcoming spring semester, David Dorfman Dance will be in residency at the college at Brockport. This is very exciting news for the Department of Dance because Assistant Professor Karl Rogers is a company member himself.
David Dorfman Dance has been around since 1985 and is one of the top modern dance companies. The company has been honored with eight New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Awards and has performed extensively in New York City and throughout North and South America, Great Britain, and Europe. David Dorfman Dance offers contemporary movement through space in its own unique and brilliant style and the college at Brockport is already buzzing with excitement to have the opportunity to work with David Dorfman and his company members.
This past summer, dance major Morgan Hasson and I took part in the David Dorfman Summer Intensive at Connecticut College. The experience we had with the company and other dancers that attended was unbelievable. Even though the intensive was only one week long, we received more information and experienced dance at a level beyond our imaginations. During the week, we took text, improvisation, repertoire, technique, and partnering classes with David, Lisa Race (David’s wife and former company member), and current company members, Karl Rogers, Whitney Tucker, Kendra Portier, and Raja Kelly. Morgan and I were truly amazed and inspired in each class we attended. On any particular day, whoever was teaching class really helped us understand the concept of what was being taught and how it related to the company’s work. Some of the most influential ideas I took away from the intensive were how to move efficiently, trust yourself, and the impact contact improvisation can have on dance.
At the tail end of the intensive, a global underscore took place, an annual event during which dancers around the world simultaneously unite in dance. Now for those of you who do not know what the underscore is Nancy Stark Smith explains the underscore in her book “Caught Falling.” Nancy Stark Smith states, “… It is a score that guides dancers through a series of ‘changing states,’ from solo deepening/releasing to sensitizing to gravity and support; through group circulation and interaction, Contact Improvisation engagements, opening out to full group improvisation with compositional awareness, and back to rest and reflection. The Underscore can be seen as a vehicle for incorporating Contact Improvisation into a broader arena of improvisational practice…”
For me, being part of the global underscore was awe inspiring. It brought the energy of dancers together from all over the world, including the David Dorfman Summer Intensive participants. Together, our spirits were combined and a magical feeling was created in the room at Connecticut College. Everyone’s passion for dance was pulsing in unison, creating rhythmic and energetic uniqueness. As everyone improvised with dancers they did not necessarily know, we came together through familiarity with the various movements being created in space. It was definitely a sight to see, something beautiful in the making.
Needless to say, everyone at the college at Brockport should mark their calendars for the David Dorfman Company residency. The company as a whole is open minded and invites everyone to take part in what they do, as they try to get to know each dancer and help him or her grow and learn. Working with the company was a life changing experience!
Editor’s Note: David Dorfman Dance will be on campus the week of February 25th, 2013. This residency is sponsored by the Student Dance Organization (SDO). Stay tuned for details about a performance you won’t want to miss featuring David Dorfman Dance to take place in Strasser Studio!