Connecticut College Magazine · Winter 2007


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David Dorfman Dance named company-in-residence at CC

David Dorfman Dance named company-in-residence at CC

David Dorfman Dance, considered one of the most influential American contemporary dance companies for the past two decades, has been permanently named company-in-residence at Connecticut College.

The New York-based company, led by David Dorfman, the William Meredith Associate Professor of Dance at Connecticut College, will spend several weeks on campus each year working with student dancers, performing its repertory, rehearsing new work and collaborating with the College as a whole. The residency will begin in the fall of 2007.

Dorfman said this collaboration gives the company a home away from home and it gives dance students at CC an experience unique in higher education.
“Students will have first-hand and consistent experience and contact with a professional dance company,” Dorfman said. Dorfman, who obtained a master´s of fine arts degree in dance at Connecticut College in 1981, returned to the College in 2004 as an associate professor of dance.

“It´s a natural outgrowth of my time spent with the dance department and the College – both as a periodic guest artist since my graduation 25 years ago, and now as a full-time faculty member and chair of the department,” said Dorfman.

Frances L. Hoffmann, dean of the faculty, said the arrangement provides significant benefits for both the College and the company.
“David Dorfman Dance is one of the most sought after and distinguished modern dance companies in America. To have the company in residence at Connecticut College will enhance the College´s interdisciplinary curriculum and provide rich opportunities for dance students and the larger New London community,” Hoffmann said.

Connecticut College has long been a leader in contemporary dance. From 1948 to 1977 it was the home of the American Dance Festival, which nurtured the development of contemporary dance in America.
The festival premiered works by some of the greatest 20th-century American artists, such as Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Jose Limón, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp. A total of 173 works were premiered at the College.

The College´s dance department was founded in 1971 by Martha Myers, the Henry B. Plant Professor Emeritus of Dance, who led the department until 1992.
Lan-Lan Wang, Connecticut College professor of dance, who chaired the department from 1994 to 2006 and organized an international dance festival and two Limón Summer Dance Workshops at Connecticut College, said, “This will make our program unique in that it will bridge the study of dance to the professional practice, a dream for most college and university dance programs.”

Last October, David Dorfman Dance performed its work “underground” as part of the onStage at Connecticut College series. In the last year alone, the company performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music´s Next Wave Festival, University of California-Santa Cruz, New York University, the American Dance Festival in Durham, N.C., Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Wesleyan University and various New York City venues.

Most recently, the company has received positive reviews from The New York Times, New York Sun, Houston Chronicle, Dance Magazine, San Francisco Bay Guardian and The Village Voice.

Dorfman said the company will also plan outreach with the greater New London community, working with the schools and presenting performances.
In 2003, before Dorfman joined the faculty, under the auspices of the Dayton Artists in Residence, Dorfman and his company created a version of their “No Roles Barred/Arts in Action,” a community-based project, at CC and in New London.

Dorfman said the College and the company are exploring the possibility of the return of a permanent summer dance festival in New London at Connecticut College, hosted by the company and featuring key guest artists.
Dorfman has been honored with four fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, three New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships, an American Choreographer´s Award, the first Paul Taylor Fellowship from The Yard, and a 1996 New York Dance & Performance Award (“Bessie”).

His choreography has been produced in New York City at venues ranging from the BAM Next Wave Festival to The Kitchen, The Joyce Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project/St. Mark´s Church, P.S. 122 and Dancing in the Streets.

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