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Dakshina receives 6th NEA Award

Dakshina is proud to announce that a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts grant award. The company received a $10,000 ward from the NEA to support the reconstruction and presentation of choreographer Anna Sokolow’s dance theater work, From the Diaries of Franz Kafka (1980). The company will present performances, post-performance discussions, and an educational exhibition about Sokolow’s vision, body of work, and her place in the modern dance continuum. Dakshina will work with Lorry May the director of the Sokolow Foundation in the Spring of 2014 to re-stage this monumental work in Washington DC.

Ernestine Stodelle wrote in Art Times that, “Sokolow’s tribute to the great German writer takes the form of an acted-out replay of Kafka’s suppressed inner life. The effect is searing, audiences are stirred to the depths.”

Anna Sokolow contributed to the world of modern dance for nearly seven decades. She continued to shape contemporary dance with ground-breaking choreography up until her death in March, 2000 at the age of ninety. Sokolow is considered one of the key figures in establishing modern dance in Israel and Mexico, along with her long career in the US. Known as one of the most dynamic and uncompromising of the modern dance choreographers, 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 she quickly became his assistant and his most outstanding composition student.

Sokolow has had a profound effect on the course of modern dance throughout the world. In addition to choreographing for her own renowned New York company, Players’ Project, her works are in the repertories of Ballet Independiente, Bat-Dor, Berlin Ballet, London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Netherlands Dance Theatre, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She has also had a direct influence on such artists as Alvin Ailey, Pina Bausch, and Martha Clarke.

But one can not describe the remarkable career of Anna Sokolow without mentioning her contributions to the theater. Her choreography for the Broadway stage includes Street Scene (1947), Regina (1949), and Candide (1956); and in 1967, she created the original dances for the Off-Broadway production of Hair. She also taught movement for actors at The Actors Studio (where she was a founding member), the Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre School, and the HB Studio. Among her students were Richard Boone, Faye Dunaway, Julie Harris, Eva-Marie Saint, Jean Stapleton, and Eli Wallach. As a teacher of modern dance, Ms. Sokolow has covered much ground, from The Juilliard School and the 92nd Street “Y” in New York City to the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem. She has taught in many colleges and universities across America, including Bennington, Ohio State, Radcliffe, Smith, and Sarah Lawrence.

Anna Sokolow created a body of work that blends modern dance and music with theater, poetry, and prose. Called “the Solzhenitsyn of twentieth-century dance,” she consistently and uncompromisingly reflects the reality of society through her work. Anna Sokolow’s choreography speaks of and to the times.