Performers often arrive in town to share their magic onstage, only to slip away into the night after a show.
But for Babs Case, artistic director at Dancers’ Workshop, bringing top-quality visiting talent to Jackson is a much greater opportunity for enrichment.
“It is about the exchange,” Case said. “You invite them because you are interested and inspired by them, and it is about what you can bring to them when they come here and bring so much to us. I want to share our community.”
This week at the Center for the Arts, Dancers’ Workshop will host David Dorfman Dance, offering a variety of classes and events with the New York City company, including a Jackson premiere of “Aroundtown,” which was born during a 2016 residency with Dancers’ Workshop.
When David Dorfman talks about “Aroundtown,” his voice eases like a friend about to level with you, bordering on a warm smile.
“It really seems to bring joy to people,” he said. “Even though there are some serious issues in it, it is joyful and accessible. You don’t need to be a dancer. ... It is for everyone. It is about a day well lived, an hour well lived, and the shared time we have together that is experiential and special.”
He aims to bring that same generosity and presence to the community throughout the week. Dancers’ Workshop will partner with Dorfman to offer two public classes, giving dancers and non-dancers the opportunity to learn from and create with his unique style of movement, spoken text and the possibility of the sublime that hides within each day.
Dorfman’s company will also hold an open rehearsal Thursday for a work-in-progress called “A (Way) Out of My Body.” The event is free for the public to attend.
The extended collaboration is also set to bring the inaugural “Let’s Make a Parade” event on Friday, which will feature 14-foot-tall pole puppets, live music and dancers from Contemporary Dance Wyoming and David Dorfman Dance. All ages are encouraged to participate and travel along with the procession, which will wind through downtown Jackson and lead curious onlookers to the Center for the Arts for a chance to witness even more.
“This week is completely fresh and different,” Case said. “I want people to feel that they can join in. It’s a great way for the community to come together and have fun.”
Case has dreamed of creating “Let’s Make A Parade” for over 30 years and sees a kindred spirit in Dorfman for this new summer ritual to celebrate the approaching end of warmer months.
Seasons also play out over a career, and Case has appreciated and known of Dorfman for more than 40 years.
“He has withstood the testament of time,” Case said. “David and his wife, Lisa, create a new piece each year, and each time I am blown away. He takes moments of his life, and as a poet and a choreographer he turns them into a movement poem.”
Dorfman said, “As life goes on and you get older, it becomes more important who you spend your time with. I call it a longing for belonging.”
His dance company has benefited from a rich engagement with Dancers’ Workshop, and he looks at this week as a form of gratitude. For him that longing to share seems to echo Case and her desire for a deeper exchange with fellow artists, as well as the community.
“I invite everyone, if you just have a little bit of a desire to learn or enjoy what we are about, you must come and you will not be let down,” Dorfman said. “We have put so much time and care in preparing these events for you. We can’t wait to share what we have created with you.”
Visit DWJH.org for information about this week’s offerings. ￼