Anna Sokolow, 1910 - 2000
At the age of only 27, Sokolow, together with José Límon and Esther Junger, received one of the first fellowships from the Bennington School of the Dance. At a time when most dancers and choreographers subsisted on a shoestring budget, the support provided an important lift to the young choreographer's career.
Over the next decades, Sokolow was often recognized as one of her era's most gifted and innovative choreographers. The citation for a 1961 Dance Magazine award read: "To Anna Sokolow, whose career as concert dancer, choreographer, and teacher in this country and on the international scene has been distinguished by integrity [and] creative boldness, and whose recent concert works have opened the road to a penetratingly human approach to the jazz idiom." In 1967, Sokolow was one of six American choreographers to receive $10,000 grants from the National Council on the Arts (soon to become the National Endowment for the Arts), and in 1988 she was awarded Mexico's highest civilian honor given to a foreigner.
On several occasions, Sokolow's strong interest in Jewish dance and Jewish themes earned her special recognition. In 1975, New York's 92nd Street Y presented her with an award for her contributions to the world of dance and to the Jewish people. Eleven years later, a gala evening in Sokolow's honor opened a three-day conference on "Jews and Judaism in Dance."
In 1991, Sokolow received the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award, given to those who have made a significant lifetime contribution to American modern dance. In 1995, a star-studded group of dancers, actors and musicians gathered to celebrate Sokolow's 85th birthday with a grand gala of speeches, memories and performances. In 1998, two years before her death, Sokolow was inducted into the National Museum of Dance's Dance Hall of Fame.
- Quotation beginning "To Anna Sokolow" from Larry Warren, Anna Sokolow: The Rebellious Spirit (Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1998), 163.
- Remaining information from Warren, passim, and programs and videotapes from "Jews and Judaism in Dance" and Sokolow's 85th Birthday Gala.