January 30, 2012
Sly & the Family Stone fans, funk aficionados, and anyone craving an hour transport back in
time to the seventies will feel right at home in the audience of David Dorfman Dance’s Prophets
of Funk – Dance to the Music.
The program takes the audience through over a dozen Sly & the Family Stone songs
including “If You Want Me To Stay,” “I Want To Take You Higher,” “Dance To The Music,”
and of course, “Everyday People” for the finale hit.
Conceived and directed by Artistic Director, David Dorfman, the performance not only
celebrates the music, but also the dance inspired by it, and the message of togetherness that both
Sly & Dorfman are known to share with their audiences. It is impossible to ignore Dorfman’s
genuine love and nostalgia for the music once he enters, progressing down an illuminated
diagonal slice of the stage. His body is overcome with the sound as he wiggles, thrashing his
legs up and back.
Psychedelic patterns and video of Sly & the Family Stone performing decorate the backdrop and
set the tone for the funk fest that Dorfman and his eight co-performers create. The lanky Raja
Kelly, portraying Sly, struts around and is quite the sight to see whether it’s his enormous afro,
gold-rimmed sunglasses, colorful outfit, or sequined platform shoes that catch your eye. Kelly
has a notable presence as the rock funk super star down to the subtleties of his body language.
The movement ranges from lively line dances, to sweeping fan kicks, and fervent air guitar
playing and has an overall relatable quality that dancers and non-dancers can appreciate.
Kendra Portier shines in her solo with some unexpected, picturesque technical moments. The
performers never forget about us in the audience though, asking us to rise to our feet and extend
our hands in the air. As each member whips out a dance move, Kyle Abraham eggs us on by
exclaiming “That’s my step!” over and over. By the end, the inviting show goes a step further
as the performers literally guide a large number of audience members on stage for an impromptu
This production is David Dorfman Dance’s latest collaborative project including the talents of
Dramaturge Alex Timbers, Creative Consultant David Kyuman Kim and Media Designer Jacob
Pinholster, among many others.
Prophets of Funk was presented at The Joyce Theater.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY – Jennifer Thompson