Earlier Work

De/Reconstruction (2003)
Sound: Kevin Pelrine


"...the most important solo made in Boston this year (2003)...Few dances manage to present such a far-reaching physical and psychological journey in just 10 minutes, flawlessly constructed and full of powerful surprises."
--Theodore Bale, The Boston Herald, January 2, 2004 (more)

Video still: Harvey Nosowitz


Swan Song #1, 2001

"Kramer's Swan Song #1 fused two separate dances and finally two separate dance styles. Kramer dragooned the audience into an improvisation about junk-mail solicitations, and Jeffrey Louizia, a teenage apprentice, did some hip-hop. When the two danced together, I thought breakdance and modern dance made a happy and unexpected merger."
--Marcia B. Siegel, The Boston Phoenix, April 7, 2000

In Kramer's humorous...Swan Song #1, Kramer is a woman deluged by mail solicitations. From her rocking chair, at one point upside down, she reads a litany of ills she has been asked to cure. But one real letter slips in, asking "Are you still dancing?" Indeed she is, and beautifully, in interspersed dances with a dynamite 15-year-old summer company apprentice, Jeffrey Louizia...lively miniatures, melding hip-hop and street dance with modern dance. Louizia displays real skill, versatility, and a dynamic presence."
--Karen Campbell, The Boston Globe, April 1, 2000

Entranced by the "lock and pop" virtuosity of 15-year-old Jeffrey Louizia, I choreographed a duet for him and me. Although different generations, genders, and races, both Jeffrey and I worked hard in our different dance forms to master a similar movement quality; I call it "brittle." Critics have said that it looks like I'm dancing under a strobe light.



Endangered Species, 2001

Endangered Species was a site-specific work for the fountain in Copley Square, Boston. Although my fellow choreographer, Micki Taylor-Pinney and I wanted to dance in the fountain with water in it, the Parks and Recreation Department said, "No!"

Still, I found some old bathing suits from the 40's, and the company danced to "Ebb Tide" and "The Swim" in the dry pool. There were some more serious sections referencing the detritus in our seas that is so destructive to wildlife.

Photo: RobertoToledo


What We Here Possess(1998)

"Kramer and Kim are an excellent partnership; it matters not a whit that she's old enough to be his mother. Both of them dance with a juicy, weighted lyricism. Some of the choreography unfolds with a slowness reminiscent of Butoh dancing. The second most poignant moment is when Kramer rolls over the feathers, mowing them down as she goes. Even more affecting is the finale when she carries Kim offstage, a moment hauntingly like the ending of Balanchine's "La Somnambula."...Watching the 53-year-old Kramer dancing with eloquence undiminished...I couldn't help hoping we'd all be around for a celebration of Dance Collective's 50th birthday."
--Christine Temin, The Boston Globe, Oct. 26, 1998

Dawn with feathers
Video still: John Meltzer


Mercy (1993)

The most compelling work on the program was "Mercy," a new solo for Kramer that examined - with both humor and poignancy - the increasing violence against women. Kramer began the dance dressed in only a bra and pantyhose, and in a reverse striptease, slowly added other undergarments, some clutched between her teeth, others wrapped around her head and legs . Women, Kramer appeared to say, are trapped in a web of society's own images and expectations. As the dance ended and the mournful score grew in intensity, Kramer appeared visibly moved by her own performance. It was a powerful and intimate moment."

--Andrew Dreyfus
The Boston Herald, June 2, 1993

Mercy references the title of Andrea Dworkin's controversial book. The dance is a reverse striptease to Hungarian folk music. It uses the layering and binding of underwear worn in odd ways as a metaphor for restrictions and violence against women. It is a challenging piece to perform, both physically and emotionally. Mercy makes some audience members uncomfortable as it is a somewhat graphic look at the often hidden problem of domestic violence.

Photo: Pete Wishnok


The Stonecutter (1993)

The Massachusetts Cultural Council gave a grant to Israeli composer Yuval Ron, and myself for "Myth, Sound, and Motion." We worked with third-graders in an urban public school, half were in a bilingual Vietnamese class; half were English speaking, mostly African American students. Using the Vietnamese myth of The Stonecutter, the students responded to motifs in the story through musical, movement, and visual art media. After many workshops and videotaping, we used the children's source material to develop our own musical composition and choreography which was then performed by Boston Dance Collective, my professional modern dance company.

Stone Cutter 1
The Stonecutter (1993) Bart Uchida, Carlo Rizzo, Jamie Huggins, Olivier Besson
Photo: Pete Wishnok


Bits and Pieces(1980-82)


Bits and Pieces was a series of four short pieces that appeared at intervals between longer dances on a program, or at intervals of months or years between programs. They distilled domestic concerns into brief scenes: the shopping cart and faux-fur lady with businessman; later stripped down to lady in slip and nude man wrapped in plastic, like a hunk of meat in the cart...the tired mom with child and Raggedy Ann doll... the back of an older woman as she massages her own aching neck...

Dancer in Shopping Cart

Bits and Pieces, #2 (1977)
Ann Brown Allen and Michael Shannon, from 2003 revival
photo: Roberto Toledo


Imaginary Crossing (1980)

"Body movements and camera movements are marvelously harmonious...the dancer appears to work within the dimension of a video-space (and not a theatrical space)...
Through a combination of pacing, eye contacts, close-up camera work, compelling rhythms, mystery and power, the work inexorably draws the viewer under its own mantle. Sensual appeal, symbolic suggestion and metaphor are employed in ways to suggest many layers of meaning, and, most importantly, convey the feeling of a probing intellect, a joint exploration, a meld of perception and body movement...It is this sense of thoughtful inquiry into both the form and content of television that is most provocative and challenging -- Kramer-Doty's joint effort to find a "perfect" and true visual syntax for the natural properties of the television medium."

--David H. Katzive
(former) Director, DeCordova and Dana Museum and Park
January 25, 1982

Dawn Kramer
Video still: WGBH


Rag (1976)

Rag was the first of a series of "everyday life " dances I made when I had young children and spent a lot of time doing domestic chores. The soloist takes ever so long to dust a wall with a red rag, swings a couple of metal pails vehemently, and hovers over an angry looking rake, without ever actually picking it up. "Rag" is a pun on the cleaning cloth, being "on the rag," and the ragtime music which accompanies the dance.

Dawn in Rag
Photo: Abe Epstein