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In a (good) funk: David Dorfman troupe comes to campus, the Egg


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With dance moves borrowed from “Soul Train,” music by American funk-rock legends Sly and the Family Stone, and psychedelic features straight from the Woodstock generation, David Dorfman Dance brings its electric style to campus as part of the Theater and Dance Department’s annual Stephanie C. Davis Dance Residency.   

Dorfman joins members of his troupe in a master class for intermediate students Wednesday, Oct. 17, and a lecture/demonstration Thursday, Oct. 18. Both events are 6:30-8 p.m. in the dance studio in the Visual Arts Building. 

On Friday, Oct. 19, 8 p.m., the company will give a public performance at the Egg, Center for the Performing Arts, in Albany. There will be an after-show party at 9 p.m. 

The performance is free for Union faculty, students and staff. Free round-trip bus transportation will be provided; buses leave from the Nott/Seward parking lot at 7 p.m. and return after the performance. 

At the Egg, the company will present its newest piece, “Prophets of Funk,” an hour-long “dynamic engagement of movement driven by the popular – and populist – funk sounds of Sly and the Family Stone.” It celebrates the trials and triumphs of “everyday people."  

“What happened so wonderfully with Sly and the Family Stone's music is that they combined soul, rhythm and blues, a little bit of rock-and-roll… a little bit of gospel with some incredible guitar parts and rocking drums, and a horn section,” Dorfman told The Washington Post last year. “It became this funk thing."   

“Prophets of Funk” has been touring the country, with stops at such top cultural and dance venues as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Joyce Theater and Lincoln Center. 

The Union residency is a gift from Sue and Gus Davis ’59, a clinical professor of pathology at Yale and active alumnus from Orange, Conn., in memory of their daughter, Stephanie C. Davis, who was a modern dancer and environmental activist with a love of the performing arts. 

“We are thrilled that our students will get to work with and see such a marvelous professional company with a unique brand of dance,” said Dance Program Director Miryam Moutillet. “This is the fifth year of the residency, and we are grateful to the Davis family for giving us these wonderful opportunities.” 

David Dorman is a New York City-based dancer, choreographer, musician and activist who has been honored extensively in the dance and performing arts worlds. Since its founding in 1985, his company has performed extensively in North and South America, as well as in Europe and Russia. Since 2007, it has been in residence at Connecticut College. 

The recipient of a Guggenheim and many other fellowships, Dorfman has worked with a cross-section of non-dancers, from athletes and corporate executives to at-risk youth, in community projects. His goal is to “get the whole world dancing.” He also performs with the Connecticut-based hip hop band, Above/Below, playing baritone saxophone. 

Tickets to the Egg performance are available on a first-come, first-serve basis with a Union ID. They may be picked up weekdays, 12:30-1:30 p.m., at the Yulman Theater Box Office and 3-4:30 p.m. at the Visual Arts Building Office. 

For more information, contact Linda Goodman, goodmanl@union.edu