You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Anna Sokolow - Prophet of Doom? - "Prophet of Doom"

In a review in the New York Times, critic Clive Barnes wrote, "Anna Sokolow is a prophet of doom. I can never see one of her performances without feeling guilty in the first place, distressed in the second, and wondering whether I remembered to latch the door of the apartment in the third. She is the sad poet of atomic debris and urban chaos. Fun she hasn't. Intense and honest she is."

In a similar vein, critic Deborah Jowitt wrote in the Village Voice, "If any choreographer could be called an apostle of darkness, it is Anna Sokolow. She holds a merciless light over man's terrors, subjecting them to a kind of artistic third degree. They talk, all right.... Her characters are Anyman and Anywoman swept from one peak of emotion to the next.... [T]he result is a kind of calligraphy of feeling."

Yet Barnes and others realized that Sokolow's work was much more than simply distressing. "Who needs her sad-faced visions and tautly shaking bodies?" Barnes wrote in 1967. "Well, certainly I do. Her madness of the psyche is neither pretty nor pleasant, yet her recognition of pain, the force and value she gives to pain, to me seems valuable in a callous world."

  1. Quotation beginning "Anna Sokolow is a prophet of doom" from Clive Barnes, "Dance: Anna Sokolow, Prophet of Doom," undated New York Times clipping in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
  2. Quotation beginning "If any choreographer could be called" from Deborah Jowitt, "Dance calligraphy," Village Voice, November 21, 1968.
  3. Quotation beginning "Who needs" from Clive Barnes, "Dance: Pity Without Sentimentality," New York Times, March 12, 1967.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Anna Sokolow - Prophet of Doom? - "Prophet of Doom"." (Viewed on January 18, 2018) <>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now

Sign Up for JWA eNews


Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs