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Revival of Anna Sokolow's "Moods" to György Ligeti's 10 Pieces for Wind Quintet

Feb. 26, 2018

Revival of Anna Sokolow's "Moods" to György Ligeti's <em>10 Pieces for Wind Quintet</em>

The Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble revives Anna Sokolow's "Moods" set to György Ligeti's 10 Pieces for Wind Quintet--a dance piece that has not been seen publicly since the 1970s. Lauren Naslund, Associate Artistic Director of the Sokolow Theatre Dance Ensemble notes, “Having danced the work of Anna Sokolow since 1989—first under her direction in her company Players' Project, then with its successor company, the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble, founded by Ms. Sokolow's long-time disciple Jim May—I was familiar with much of her repertory. Yet she also created many works for other dance companies and for her students at Juilliard, which were in danger of being lost to time.”

Nashland continues, “Browsing through YouTube two years ago, I happened upon an excerpt of a Sokolow work I had never seen before, "Moods." It was performed by students, gamely but stiffly. I was intrigued by the work's bold imagery, emotional range, and technical challenges. Samantha Géracht, STDE's newly appointed Artistic Director, agreed that we should try to revive it.”

However, the key to reviving "Moods" rested on the ability to obtain an archival video of the 1975 performance of this work, choreographed by Ms. Sokolow for Daniel Lewis's company, Contemporary Dance System. Permission to review the video, housed in the New York Public Library’s performing arts collection, was obtained with the help of Schott New York, and the project was able to forge ahead.

Anna Kisselgoff noted in the New York Times in 1991: "Miss Sokolow's great gift is for the distilled image....Feeling is at the heart of her work, and the emotion infused into her dancers is meant to carry straight to the viewer." Ms. Sokolow responded to music on an emotional level, and was a pioneer in using genres that were not considered for use in dance in their time. For example, the Lyric Suite by Alban Berg, which she choreographed in 1953; and "Rooms" by Kenyon Hopkins, choreographed in 1955.

Lauren Nashland recalls, “As I reconstructed 'Moods' I discovered how deeply and specifically the choreography connected with Ligeti's 10 Pieces. The dance takes its seven cast members through a cycle of inner states—from serenity through exuberance, anxiety, struggle, despair, to (perhaps?) acceptance—via often stunningly unexpected imagery and relationships. Ligeti's music is the voice of that journey. Even the silence between pieces is vibrantly part of the whole.”

The Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble performs "Moods" along with Anna Sokolow's "Dreams," "Preludes," and "Poem," and Leni Williams' "Sweet in the Morning" from March 8-11 at the Actors Fund Arts Center in Brooklyn. For more information about this innovative ensemble and their performances in Brooklyn this month please click here.

(10 Pieces for Wind Quintet/György Ligeti/Albert Schweitzer Wind Quintett)

To learn more about György Ligeti, please visit

(Dancers rehearsing Anna Sokolow's "Moods"; photo courtesy of the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble)

György Ligeti
10 Pieces for Wind Quintet (1968)