TONIGHT/THIS WEEK: Dance for the People

By on July 21, 2016

David Dorfman Dance explores community and legacy in performances tonight and Saturday.


Dancers’ Workshop’s artistic director Babs Case packs her summers full of transformative dance productions, and this season is no different. First we had Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company in residence in June, followed by two powerful concerts by Contemporary Dance Wyoming. In August, Stars of American Ballet satiate Jackson’s appetite for classic ballet.

This week, Dancers’ Workshop presents the frenetic, kinetic, and dare we say anti-elitist work of David Dorfman Dance from New York City.

By all accounts, Dorfman, 61, differs from many of his post-modern and contemporary dance compatriots in that his goal in inclusivity. He doesn’t want dance to be an elite language only accessible to the few.

“I have always been interested in grassroots movements and the rights of the disenfranchised,” Dorfman told Dance magazine. “If I hadn’t become a dancer, I think I would have been a social worker or therapist. I believe in the healing power of art—and dance in particular.”

The company has been in residence all week at Dancers’ Workshop, teaching master classes and rehearsing a work in progress. One remaining master class is open to dancers and non-dancers.

A Guggenheim fellow, Dorfman founded David Dorfman Dance in 1987, with a mission to create post-modern dance that feels accessible and meaningful to audiences. What that means on stage is big full extensions of legs and arms, playful shifts of weight, fingers flourishing in the air. Movements are emphatic and athletic.

Dorfman has said that he likes to show weight and presence in his choreography, and even sweat. He says this adds “a bit more of a human perspective” to his dances.

Tonight, viewers will see the work in progress, Aroundtown, which explores the need for community.

On Saturday night, the company presents Come, And Back Again, a personal work about “cycles of life, loss, mess, mortality, the persistence of love,” Dorfman said.

For the performance, a crew from Jackson assisted Dorfman’s team from New York in assembling a large wall of domestic detritus, with items as diverse as a badminton racket, a mattress and a fan. Former Contemporary Dance Wyoming member Erin Roy, who is working with Dancers’ Workshop for the summer, helped construct the wall. “The set is humongous, and composed of found objects all painted white,” Roy said. “As I understand it, this set has been around for quite a long time and has traveled near and far.”

When Come, And Back Again premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2013, reviewer Deborah Jowitt wrote that the piece was about “moving on, about what you cherish, and about what you leave behind – also about vowing not to leaving a mess for others to clean up.”

Dorfman may be referring to not leaving messes in personal relationships, but there is a larger metaphor as well, and one that our overheated world would do well to heed.


Events this week:

Aroundtown, Work in Progress

Thursday, July 21, 6 p.m.

Dancers’ Workshop Studio 1

$18 adult / $10 student


Come, And Back Again

Saturday, July 23, 8 p.m.

Center Theater

$55 orchestra / $45 balcony / $25 student


Open Rehearsal, Come, And Back Again

Friday, July 22, 12:00 p.m.

Free and open to the public


Movement Workshop for movers & non-movers, $25

Monday, July 25, 5:30 p.m.


Call 307.733.6398 for more information, or visit





About Meg Daly

Meg Daly is a freelance writer and arts instigator. She grew up in Jackson in the 1970s and 80s, when there were fewer fences, but less culture. Follow Meg on Twitter @MegDaly1

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