The Deborah Abel Dance Company performs original works choreographed by artistic director Deborah Abel with original music composed by music director and resident composer Lee Perlman. Their work has been presented across the Northeast US, India, and Mexico. The company's concerts are intended to engage the audience in a very human, soulful, and concretely emotional way, and to give them an experience of discovery and inner movement.
The Wild Divine, which premiered in 2018 at Boston University's Tsai Performance Center, is the Deborah Abel Dance Company's most recent evening-length concert, with original live music composed by Lee Perlman. The work is performed by 10 dancers and 8 musicians, and includes collaborations with projection and costume artists. The concert was inspired by a friend’s battle with ALS and depicts an emotional and spiritual pilgrimage to the true aliveness and beauty living inside us all. As we travel to the wilds of the heart, we step out of our personae, visiting places of profound peace and sublime joy. We return awakened.
The work of the company is meant to remind us of a level of connection with ourselves and others that gets buried in everyday life, and which the arts are uniquely qualified to uncover. Each concert aims to touch the part of us that is longing: longing to be the lover and the beloved, longing for connection with our truest selves and with others. Through a perspective that is a meld of western psychology and eastern intentionality the dances explore the possibility of personal wholeness, and of evolving relationships in partnerships, families, and communities. Each of the company's concerts is conceived as a whole, creating a universe into which the audience is invited to enter.
CURRENT WORK AND HISTORY
The Wild Divine recently returned from a tour in Mexico, August, 2019. There, The Wild Divine had the premier spot as the closing performance of the 39th Lila Lopez International Contemporary Dance Festival. On the same trip, the company also performed in the impressive San Benito Abad Theater just outside of Mexico City, and held a one week residency at the Tlacopac International Artist Residency in Mexico City.
Among Abel’s many concerts have been eight evening-length works. Her work Calling to You: A Tale of Ancient Wisdom in the Modern World, premiered in 2012 at Boston University's Tsai Performance Center and was brought back in 2014. In December, 2012, the concert toured 3 cities in India. The tour was sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Kalakshetra Foundation. While in India, the Deborah Abel Dance Company worked in partnership with the Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA) – the largest trade union in the world, founded in 1972, serving poor self-employed women – introducing young students of SEWA in New Delhi to modern dance.
Abel calls her genre of modern dance Bhakti Modern. Bhakti Modern pulls deeply from the Hindu tradition and universal experiences of longing and love. Along with presenting her evening-length works internationally, Abel has also taught dozens of masterclasses in Bhakti Modern worldwide. In January 2016, she toured her Bhakti Modern Master Class in Southern India where she taught at Kalakshetra, a conservatory of Music and Dance, University of Hyderabad, and Auorville. She also offers her master classes in universities and colleges in the US, most recently MIT.
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
Abel received a BA in Dance from Connecticut College and a Certificate of Dance from the Laban School in London, England. In the 1980s she established her own school of modern dance, which continues to grow and flourish today. In 2010, Abel received an Artist Fellowship in Choreography from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. In 2012 she served as a judge on the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s panel for the Artist Fellowship. Among her many concerts have been eight evening-length works.
Lee Perlman earned his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has been performing and composing music for more than 40 years. Since 1996, all of the company’s performances have featured live music that has been composed, arranged, directed, and performed by Perlman along with a core group of musicians. He has taught at Brown University, Harvard University, Swarthmore College, Phillips Academy Andover, and for the past 23 years at MIT.