Please listen to this music as you read my thoughts on David Dorfman's Prophet's of Funk. I'm serious this music will get you in the mood.
Schaffer theater at Bates College became a 60s "happening" on Friday night as David Dorfman Dance presented a visual feast of rhythm, groove and love. Those are words Dorfman used in the program notes. He also stated that after seeing the Original Family Stone a few years ago he made a pledge to "dance to the music." And with this dance he successfully fulfilled this goal. His choreography moves to the music in such a deep grounded way that the dancers were the music. Their movements didn't just mirror the songs or act out the words, their bodies were visually interpreting the beats, notes, horns and drums. It was a very enveloping experience.
Eight dancers and Dorfman acting as a unassuming ringmaster entered the stage dressed in the 60s garb; colorful bell bottoms, fringe vests, and outrageous Afros. They began dancing using all the social dance moves of the era. It's as if it's a big dance party at Woodstock and the it's never going to end. Peace man - make love not war. The dancers made us believe we were back in that era. But Dorman took those familiar themes and exaggerated them into a complex and exciting progression. The entire work used the music of Sly and the Family Stone, who produced some of the most funky sounds of that time period. The music was really loud as if we were at a concert, the music surrounded the senses.
The dancers were superb. Kyle Abraham, Meghan Bowden, Luke Gutsell, Renuka Hines, Raja Kelly, Kendra Portier, Karl Rodgers, and Whitney Tucker all took on different persona's. We saw the hippy guy, the flower power girl, the stoner, the radical. They flew high across the stage with dynamic lifts, kicks and turns with such abandonment that we believed they were those kids that wanted to change the world. These dancers embraced the movement and performed with such skill and power, it was really beautiful. Dorfman's choreography pointed to free love, racial tension, drug use and most importantly a deep respect for the radical music. He is very skilled at crafting a world, and gathering the audience into it. We were there. At the end of the program the dancers went out and invited the audience up to dance with them. Seeing over 100 people jamming together on the stage was a fitting way to close a perfect evening.
David Dorfman Dance, Bates Dance Festival, in Lewiston Maine. August 5 and 6, 2011