A New York City subway train approaches the Atlantic Ave station. in Brooklyn. People ruminate; it’s a pretty standard scene. But then dance instructor David Dorfman ’81 emerges from the back of the station, dancing, jumping and twirling around and among startled commuters.
It was the opening scene of ‘And So Say All of Us,’ a nearly 10-minute video featuring 52 of the world’s leading contemporary choreographers, that caught the attention of dance critics this week. from the Washington Post, Sarah L. Kaufman.
“Think of the video as…a chain of letters in the dance, with each performer picking up where the last left off. A chain of delights,” Kaufman wrote.
“It’s also a response to the catchy, youthful dances typically featured on TikTok,” she added. “There’s no song to lip-sync, no set moves to copy. It is simply a pleasure to watch.
Shot before the COVID-19 pandemic — viewers will note the lack of masks — the project was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music as a tribute to the academy’s outgoing executive producer Joseph V. Melillo. Directed by Mitchell Rose, it features original solos from dance icons such as Mark Morris, Bill T. Jones, Bebe Miller, Lucinda Childs, William Forsythe and Benjamin Millepied, as well as Conn’s own Dorfman, the artistic director and founder of the influential modern dance. company and Conn’s company in residence, David Dorfman Dance.
Dorfman, whose impressive resume includes a 2019 United States Artist Fellowship, four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, three New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Choreographer Award, a Lucille Lortel for Best Choreography, The Yard’s first Paul Taylor Fellowship, a New York Dance & Performance Award (“Bessie”), and a 2021 Connecticut Artists Fellowship Achievement in Art Award, opens and closes the video. After each soloist has performed their own unique piece, the film cuts back to the subway station, where Dorfman dances on a train, then smiles through the window as the train pulls away.
“The 52 international artists in this video have generally given up on their performing careers, but what magnificent dancers they still are and how wonderfully they perform,” Kaufman wrote.
“To look at them is to see that any small square of space can be your sandbox. It is about total and exhilarating freedom. Uninhibited pleasure in moving, in existing. For these dancers, it’s effortless.
Watch “And So Tell Us All”.