JWA News Release: Mar 21, 2002
Jewish Women's Archive Launches Interactive Exhibit on Dance Pioneer Anna Sokolow
Award-Winning Website Offers Biographical Information, Video Clips, Artifacts from Dance Legend's Life
BOSTON, MA—Excerpts from the only existing footage of modern dance trailblazer Anna Sokolow in performance can now be viewed online. They are part of an extensive multi-media exhibit created by the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) showcasing the dancer/choreographer's life and work. From her early training at the Neighborhood Playhouse, to her role in developing modern dance in Israel and Mexicom to her Broadway career (which included work on the 1967 rock musical Hair), the exhibit chronicles Sokolow's life and contributions to dance through narrative and nearly 70 movie clips, articles, photographs and archival documents.
This comprehensive interactive exhibit, at jwa.org/exhibits/wov/sokolow/, provides insight into Sokolow's creative process and her vision of dance as a vehicle for exploring the human condition. It documents her body of work and her role in shaping modern choreography and American theater.
Anna Sokolow explored the social, political and human conflicts that characterize life in the modern world. Her choreography reflected the issues of her day, from the Great Depression to the Holocaust to the alienated youth of the 1960s. She also drew inspiration from Jewish history and culture, creating dances about Biblical and modern Jewish figures and choreographing the first serious dance exploration of the Holocaust. Visitors to the online exhibit can get a first-hand perspective on this great artist as they listen to Sokolow discuss such topics as her training at the Neighborhood Playhouse, her theater work, her first dance class and her mentor Louis Horst, and watch video clips of Sokolow dance compositions, including Rooms, Opus 65 and Lyric Suite.
"Anna Sokolow's intense social consciousness and her commitment to confronting audiences with difficult societal issues and encouraging them to explore those issues left an indelible mark on modern dance, contemporary theater and our society," said JWA Executive Director Gail Twersky Reimer.
The Jewish Women's Archive exhibit on Sokolow is part of Women of Valor, an educational outreach program designed to celebrate the lives and accomplishments of Jewish women. JWA has also developed a poster of Sokolow, which includes photographs and a timeline of her life, and an educational resource guide that facilitates further discussion and exploration of Sokolow's contributions to dance and modern culture.
Each year for the past six years, JWA has produced and disseminated Women of Valor posters and resource guides featuring three noteworthy Jewish women to thousands of institutions across North America. The other 2002 Women of Valor are radical activist Emma Goldman and Southern social and political reformer Gertrude Weil.
The mission of the Jewish Women's Archive is to uncover, chronicle and transmit the rich legacy of Jewish women and their contributions to our families and our communities, to our people and our world. JWA uses traditional methods and emerging technologies to accomplish this mission. The JWA website, which hosts a unique "Virtual Archive" of information on Jewish women, is at jwa.org.