Throwback Thursday #TBT: Impressions Of: David Dorfman Dance in "Prophets of Funk"
at The Joyce Theater, New York
Choreography and Text: David Dorfman Dance
Music: Sly and The Family Stone
Sound Design: Samuel Crawford
Media: Jacob Pinholser
Creative Consultant: David Kyuman Kim
Dramaturge: Alex Timbers
Lighting Director and Stage Manager: Dans Sheehan
Performers:David Dorfman, Kyle Abraham, Meghan Bowden, Luke Gutgsell, Renuka Hines, Raja Feather Kelly, Kendra Portier, Karl Rogers, Whitney Tucker
The first time I saw David Dorfman I was in a college technique class and to my surprise and embarrassment, I mistook him for a student’s dad. Once I saw the man move, however, I knew he was a great dancer. I couldn’t keep my eyes off him, he looked like he was having so much fun. In Prophets of Funk he is no different.
Dressed in platform shoes, a baby blue blazer and red slacks, Dorfman commands the stage as he shuffles and stomps, flapping his arms alongside him like a funky hawk. His boyish charm can be seen rows back as he boogies downstage with a Cheshire cat grin.
Channeling the life and work of the 60’s and 70’s music group, Sly and the Family Stone, Dorfman sets a fast-and-loose pace for his company of eight. The 55-minute work flies by. Bodies flip over one another. The dancers shimmy, gyrate, and “get down” across the stage. Raja Feather Kelly, in his fringe vest, afro and aviator sunglasses anchors the work as the front man, Sly Stone. Just when I think Dorfman has led us to a dance party that is going all night long, Kelly steers the funk forward singing “If You Want Me to Stay” and encouraging the audience to stand up, cheer, and share the power of peace.
The work intertwines virtuosic dancing, humor and historical reference seamlessly. Kyle Abraham, the funny man, gives comedic relief in his golf cap and bell bottom pants as he shouts “That’s my step,” whenever a fellow dancer breaks out into their signature dance move - be it a booty shake or a quirky foot scoot. Whitney Tucker, in a chambray blue halter jumpsuit, brings down the house with a soulful solo. I notice every one of her vertebrae undulate. She grooves like a serpent.
I find myself tapping my feet and whispering an enthusiastic “yeah!” when I see impressive dancing, and the dancing was impressive last night. But one of the most poignant parts of the evening was the audience participation. At the end of the show, the dancers pulled audience members onto the stage for an impromptu dance party. That group movement truly embodied what Sly and the Family Stone were about — unity, community, and freedom.
To Read Christine Jowers' Dance Enthusiast Impression of David Dorfman Dance Click Here