(Union, NJ) – Carolyn Dorfman Dance, a premiere modern dance company based in New Jersey and New York City, will embark on a season radically adjusted to accommodate safe programming in this era of COVID-19. The highlights this season, which features virtual, taped and some livestream events, include a blend of educational programming, lectures, and performances.

Following the latest safety guidelines from the CDC and public health officials, Artistic Director Carolyn Dorfman and the company’s nine dancers recently returned to in-person rehearsals as they prepare for a season unlike anything that the Company has experienced in its 38-year history.

“We have taken every precaution possible as the Company prepares for a season of schooltime residencies, classes, lectures and performances,” said Carolyn Dorfman. “With the extreme turmoil in the performing arts world, we feel so fortunate to have some significant work, although a shortened season. As creative artists, our dancers were eager to return to the studio despite the challenges for a dance company of social distancing and using PPE. We are grateful to SOPAC [South Orange Performing Arts Center] for allowing us to use their large Loft space.”

October was a busy month for the Company, Carolyn Dorfman Dance was part of the Jersey City Theatre Center’s (JCTC) “Voices International Theatre Fest,” which presented 24 productions from 20 countries between October 15 and October 25. Dorfman’s enchanting interdisciplinary collaboration “Dance/Stories” was shown on October 21 and 23, followed by Q&A, and Carolyn Dorfman participated on a panel with fellow choreographers Sidra Bell and Vikram Iyengar in a discussion of the impact of world affairs on their art.

The Company was featured in programs at Florida Southern College and Union County Vo-Tech’s Academy of the Performing Arts as well as lectures and demonstrations at Rutgers and the University of Michigan.

One of the Company’s most anticipated events is the 4th Annual Dance Union Festival, a program which showcases the breadth and depth of dance talent in Union County and brings together students and dance aficionados from across the county and beyond. This year’s festival will be enhanced with more masterclasses available, more students, teachers, and dance lovers since it will be virtual and not limited by space considerations. The Company is also considering limited hybrid performances depending on the status of the virus and the ability to work on-site at facilities such as Community Access. However, the structure will be similar to previous years, including “Dance on the Move” with masterclasses and lecture/demonstrations for Middle Schools and schools and organizations which serve individuals with disabilities. The highlight of this weeklong festival will be a livestream performance of high school dancers, dance companies and individual dancers on Sunday, April 25, 2021.

Ocean County College has been working to open the new Gia Maione Prima Theatre and is slated to do so in February. As part of that celebration, Carolyn Dorfman has been commissioned to present the world premiere of “Pure Prima,” a work celebrating the career of the iconic Louis Prima. Dorfman is creating a joyous, uplifting work using Prima’s compositions including “Sing Sing Sing,” “Jump Jive and Wail,” and recordings with singers Gia Maione Prima and Keely Smith. The premiere is tentatively scheduled for viewing on February 20, 2021.

Despite the limitations of the pandemic, the Company continues its heralded educational programming with virtual masterclasses, residencies, and lectures at Florida Southern College, Towson State University and the Community College of Baltimore County, Maryland, Rutgers University, the University of Michigan, East Brunswick Schools, and at several performing art high schools in the City of Elizabeth. The ensemble is also scheduled to present “The Legacy Project” at the JCC in Houston.

“The Company is particularly well suited to provide programming for educational institutions,” explained Executive Director Anita Thomas. “Our dancers and company manager have become quite proficient in using the latest video technology and have successfully produced virtual programs for schools, community organizations, and festivals for several months. Unlike many arts organizations, Carolyn Dorfman Dance has maintained an active schedule despite the inability to teach and perform on-site.”

Carolyn Dorfman Dance features an ensemble of nine artists: Samantha Altenau, Jarred Bosch, Nina Chong-Jimenez, Caroline Dietz, Quinton Guthier, Brandon Jones, Lara Friedman Kats, Kaila Moses, and Katlyn Waldo, along with Associate Artistic Director Jacqueline Dumas Albert.

The staff includes executive director Anita Thomas who has led the Company for more than a decade. She is supported by communications/development manager Anna Shaffner, company manager Stephanie Byrnes Harrell, and financial administrator Flora Attardi. For more information, visit www.carolyndorfman.dance.

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Carolyn Dorfman Dance Season Highlights (Virtual)

  • October 23/24: Voices International Theatre Fest, Jersey City, N.J.
  • October 25/December 3: Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.
  • January 27: The Legacy Project Lecture/Performance, Houston, TX
  • February 20: “Pure Prima,” world premiere at the Gia Maione Prima Studio Theatre, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
  • March 1-7: Residency/Performance at Towson State University and The Community College of Baltimore County
  • April 19-25: Dance Union Festival, Rahway, NJ

About Carolyn Dorfman Dance

Carolyn Dorfman Dance connects life and dance in bold, athletic, and dramatic works by Carolyn Dorfman and nationally renowned choreographers. The company’s 10 multi-ethnic and stunning dancers present high-energy and technically demanding dance that unleashes the powerful storytelling and imagery of its visionary creator. This distinctive combination takes audiences on intellectual and emotional journeys that ultimately illuminate and celebrate the human experience. The highly acclaimed ensemble is known for emotional resonance and artistic excellence in both performance and its interaction with audiences, students, and community. Before the pandemic, Carolyn Dorfman Dance appeared at major theaters, dance festivals, universities, schools, museums, and galleries regionally, nationally, and internationally. The company has effectively made use of technology, providing popular virtual programming and taped performances.

Note: For photos, interviews and more information, please contact Anna Shaffner at ashaffner@carollyndorfman.dance or Don Jay Smith at Don@LKSassociates.com.

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