July 15-19, 2024
Close this search box.

Legacy and Homage

by Carolyn Dorfman

As I reflect (both clear-eyed and rose-colored) upon the past 40 years and the inspiration for it all, what I remember most is the people. People whose lives, teachings, artistry, and leadership have helped me and this Company both survive and thrive. We stand on their shoulders. From dance pioneers and teachers to our families and contemporaries, we are who are because of the paths they carved and the barriers they broke.

My greatest debt is to my parents whom, in this season, and perhaps in all seasons, we pay homage and express gratitude to. The 40th Anniversary Season of Carolyn Dorfman Dance is dedicated to my parents, Holocaust survivors and immigrants, Mala Dorfman (fka Weintraub) (1923-2022) and Henry Dorfman (1922-2001); to the humanity they engendered and the legacy they passionately delivered.

My parents instilled in me the core values of Carolyn Dorfman Dance: a deep respect for history, family, and tradition. This created a Company that values the power of unique individuals joining forces to create a strong community and, ultimately, a better world. Their stories have shaped me as well as the dancers and audiences across New Jersey, the country, and abroad for four decades. They have challenged us to think about the past, who we are today, and, perhaps most importantly, who we want to become individually and as a society.

Regardless of content, all my work reflects my Eastern European roots and legacy, from the belief in Tikkun Olam (to repair the world) to my father’s mantra:

“God gave you two hands…one with which to earn or take and the other with which to give. You must use them equally.”

The ethos of this company bears their mark, mine, and all those who dedicated themselves to the work.

My Father’s Solo, the prologue to Mayne Mentshn (My People), embodies the ability of the survivor to fall, endure, and rise again. This solo embodies it all.

I was lucky my parents chose life after the war. Hear/read their stories of survival, endurance, and life on the other side of trauma.

Henry Dorfman’s interview

Mala Dorfman’s interview