1/26 – Library of Congress, Washington DC

Anna Sokolow and the Reimagined Roots of Anti-Fascist Dance

Photo: Rishika Nath

Friday, January 26, 2024 at 7:00 pm
Thomas Jefferson Building – Coolidge Auditorium
10 1st Street SE, Washington, DC 20540
Tickets: Free
Library of Congress site

To mark the arrival of Anna Sokolow’s and composer Alex North’s archives at the Library of Congress, the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble performed and participated in a panel discussion on the story of restoring Anna Sokolow’s early activist dances.

When the Library of Congress Music Division made the extraordinary discovery of handwritten scores composed by Alex North for two of Sokolow’s dances, Artistic Director Samantha Géracht reimagined the dances using archival evidence and the music. Both were performed by members of the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble to the original scores, showing that the creative collaboration of Anna Sokolow (1910-2000) and Alex North (1910-1991) remains fresh, compelling, and relevant for today’s audiences. A panel discussion of the revival of the music and dance and the lives of North and Sokolow was followed by an audience Q & A session.

“…incredible program of recorded history and live dance. The performance was an enlightening and moving experience that not only provided entertainment but also served as an educational and inspirational reflection on important historical and social issues.”

Carolyn Keleman, MD Theatre Guide
  • Slaughter of the Innocents — choreographed by Samantha Géracht, based on contact prints from a photo shoot by Barbara Morgan of Anna Sokolow dancing her 1937 Slaughter of the Innocents, a lament for Basque women suffering under Nazi aerial bombing.
  • Ballad in a Popular Style — choreographed by Artistic Director Eleanor Bunker and Samantha Géracht, based on the movement in Sokolow’s 1984 As I Remember, to a wistful jazz score for piano and whistler.

Alex North’s music was arranged by Kevin Kaska, performed and recorded in 2020 by The Los Angeles Chamber Artists under the direction of Andrew Schulman. Grateful acknowledgement to Dylan North.

Panel moderator: Lakey Evans-Peña, Associate Director Ailey School, Horton Pedagogy 
Samantha Géracht, Artistic Director, Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble 
Jim May, Founding Director, Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble 
Eleanor Bunker, Associate Artistic Director, Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble
Lauren Naslund, Associate Artistic Director, Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble
Ilana Ruth Cohen, dancer  
Erin Gottwald, dancer 
Margherita Tisato, dancer