Sokolow, Anna

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SOKOLOW, ANNA (1915–2000), U.S. choreographer, teacher, and one of the outstanding figures in American modern dance. She grew up on New York's Lower East Side and began experimenting while a soloist with the Martha Graham Company (1930–38). Her first group work, Anti-War Cycle, was presented in 1933 by the Workers' Dance League. As a soloist, she toured Russia in 1934, and her first company, the Dance Unit, gave concerts in the U.S. and Mexico during the 1930s. Under Mexican government auspices, she formed the first Mexican modern dance company, La Paloma Azul. Her work reached an artistic turning point in 1953, when she choreographed Lyric Suite (to music by Alban Berg) in Mexico. It was performed in New York by nine dancers from the New Dance Group, which became her new company. Other works included Rooms (1955), a study of urban loneliness, Dreams (1961), an "indictment of the Nazi concentration camps," and Déserts (1967). Anna Sokolow made frequent visits to Israel, where she acted as teacher. In 1953 she was invited to Israel to work with the *Inbal dance group. Following this, she was invited yearly until the 1990s and choreographed for the major companies in Israel, including *Bat-Sheva and the Kibbutz Dance Company. Her most important contribution was the creation of the Lyric Theater in Tel Aviv (1962) with the best available dancers of the time, thus creating the first professional dance company in Israel. With them she created 11 original works in four programs. Sokolow introduced new performing standards and educated a new generation of dancers who became active in all major Israeli dance companies.

add. bibliography:

ied, vol. 5, 637a–638b.

[Marcia B. Siegel /

Bina Shiloah (2nd ed.)]