Carolyn Dorfman Dance


2780 Morris Avenue, Suite 1-A
Union, NJ 07083
County: Union

  • P: (908) 687-8855


Ms. Anita Thomas
Executive Director

Grant Amount


Program Area


Grant Details

General operating support

Organization Background

Carolyn Dorfman Dance connects life and dance in bold, athletic and dramatic works by Dorfman and nationally renowned choreographers and collaborators. Her eleven, stunning multi-ethnic dancers tap their unique talents to present high-energy, technically demanding works that illuminate and celebrate the human story. This is contemporary dance that will move you to think, feel, laugh, cry and connect! The highly acclaimed Company has toured to major regional, national and international theaters, festivals, universities and non-traditional venues such as museums and art galleries. DEPTH - Dance that Empowers People To be more Human, is the philosophy at the heart of the company?s immersive artistic, educational and community programming. From Newark to China, Houston to Sarajevo, Omaha to Nepal, the Company is a powerful vehicle for human expression, connection, social action and change. Since 1982, Ms. Dorfman has created at least 60 contemporary dance works. Dorfman?s interdisciplinary and intercultural approach on the stage and in the community explores the rich mosaic of human experience, tradition, and stories ? through the powerful universal language of dance. Dorfman?s work is continually inspired by Wallace Stegner?s quote: ?There is a sense in which we are all each other?s consequences.? The highly praised ensemble is known for emotional resonance and artistic excellence that presents not only dance, but also the creative process and deep communication. For 37 years, Carolyn Dorfman Dance has appeared at major theaters, dance festivals, universities, community centers, and K-12 schools worldwide. Our work has been presented on television, film and at significant performing arts venues such as The Joyce Theater, New York Live Arts (formerly Dance Theater Workshop), 92nd Street Y, the NYC Summerstage Festival presented by the City Parks Foundation, Symphony Space, NYU Skirball and Tisch School for the Arts; NJPAC (New Jersey Performing Arts Center), SOPAC (South Orange Performing Arts Center), Shapiro Theater at Brandeis University, Swarthmore College, Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, Jacob?s Pillow (Inside/Out), The Berman Theatre, and The Yard. National tours have taken Carolyn Dorfman Dance to upstate NY, CT, MI, PA, MA, FL, VA, IL, CA, TX, NE, WI; and so far this season to Orlando, Tampa and Lakeland, Fl. International tours have taken the company to Poland three times (2001, 2003, and 2009), and Germany (2014). In 2015 CDD performed at the Winter Festival in Sarajevo. We will return to tour in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina from November 16-23, 2017 with funding support from the Trust for Mutual Understanding, sponsorship from the US Embassy in Sarajevo, and in partnership with the National Theater and Ballet of Sarajevo. In this current season, the company has been awarded another State Department grant that will take some members to Kathmandu, Nepal. Carolyn Dorfman has been designated a Distinguished Artist by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (NJSCA), which has granted her six Choreography Fellowships. Under Ms. Thomas?s leadership that company was awarded Citation of Excellences from NJSCA from 2016-2019. Dorfman has a long history of collaborating with composers, musicians, visual artists, playwrights, actors, storytellers, and video artists. Incorporating live instrumental and vocal performance into dance has been a hallmark of Dorfman?s work. Ninety percent of all of the company?s works involve commissioned scores and 15% have been performed with live music. CDD has garnered grants from the New Music USA (formerly American Music Center Live Music for Dance) in 2006, 2008-2010, and 2012-2016. New funding has come from the O?Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation in 2015 and 2016. Dorfman and CDD staff and dancers believe in collaboration within the field. Both Dorfman and Executive Director Anita Thomas serve as mentors for Dance USA?s Mentoring Program and on numerous boards and committees of organizations that further the field of dance. In 2018, Artpride invited Ms. Thomas to participate in an advisory committee around an important strategic plan goal of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and this year they invited her to join their Strategic Planning Committee. Ms. Thomas also co-chairs the Patron Services Committees for ADA compliance for DanceNJ. Ms. Dorfman is or has been involved on the board of directors of The Yard, Dance NYC, All Stars Project (NJ and NY), and NJPAC?s Dance Committee, among others. It is this work as artists and citizens that has garnered the organization a myriad of awards in different sectors. In 2012 Dorfman received the Industry Partner of the Year award from the Union County Vocational Technical School/Academy for the Performing Arts; in 2013 she received the Dance Advocate Award from Dance New Jersey, the service organization for dance in the state; in 2014 she received, from the Union County Board of Freeholders and Union County Commission on the Status of Women, the Woman of Excellence Award in the Arts and Humanities; and in 2015 she received the Humanitarian Award from The Sister Rose Thering Fund at Seton Hall University. Carolyn Dorfman Dance is grateful for the major institutional and foundation support it has received over the years for the creation of new work and general operating support. Support has ranged from a new funder in 2019, the SHS Foundation for our involvement in the Women/Create Festival, to being selected for a Creation Space grant from LaGuardia Performing Arts Center for three seasons (at an approximate value of $45,000 per year) to major, long term financial and organizational support from your foundation, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, The Harkness Foundation for Dance, and the NJ State Council on the Arts.

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