Reviews and Press
Seeing Deborah Zall dance is like re-living the ... profound dramatic experience I had when I first saw Martha Graham perform.
Deborah Zall has technical and dramatic range. Both suit her ideally for the solo medium. Among her most arresting characteristics one might also list speed, strength, authority and a chiaroscuric [sic] awareness of style.
I have found Ms Zall to be a consummate professional in every aspect of her career. Her utter dedication to dance, both as teacher and performer, have been an inspiration for audiences throughout the world and for the many students she has taught over the years. I would have no hesitation in giving Ms Zall the highest possible recommendation.
It was a pleasure to see Anna Sokolow's vintage solo Kaddish. Here [Deborah Zall] had to deal with a small-boned, almost filigree movement language. She did so with sensitivity and affection for detail.
…performed by the vibrant, intense Deborah Zall, the work [Kaddish] probes the dynamics of mourning, form [sic] stupendous grief to desperate imploring to the lonely dull ache in the center of the heart. Zall’s rail-thin, fine-boned body precisely etched shapes in space as she swayed and wailed and collapsed under her pain.
...in the dancer Deborah Zall, it was almost as if Graham presided over the event in person...her long, intense jaw, implacably stern gaze and gauntly expressive body, she bears an unnerving resemblance to Graham herself. In Sokolow's concentrated lament "Kaddish" (1948) Zall's hands cupped tragically round her face and beat an anguished tattoo against her chest while body twisted sideways back on the axis of its own grief.
Based on the tragic character of Mary Tyrone in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, it contrasted a wary stillness with flashes of fierce yet strangely compressed movement.
…petite and wonderfully expressive, alive to the fingertips and really inside the psyche of a tormented woman who is always real as the choreographer/dancer allows herself to be carried most directely by the music from fantasy to nightmare
With gripping intensity Deborah Zall expressed the suffering and the longing of Rachel. She is a great artist.
I wish to thank you, Bertram Ross and your entire company for a splendid showing on October 6th. We are indeed fortunate to have artists such as yourselves who share such beautiful work. Your artistry helped shape the afternoon into a unique event.
Deborah Zall’s choreography, Rachel, is a significant work by her, continuing her remarkable creative career as an artist…
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La Bonne Dame
A wonderfully theatrical evening in which some of George Sand’s surprisingly modern writing is the setting for Deborah Zall’s superbly-danced characterization of Sand.
Deborah Zall is a soloist that has thrown down the gauntlet for herself to create dances that are just about women… Deborah Zall choreographs an answer to spotlight awareness on the achievements of George Sand.
A beautiful work... heartrending.
"La Bonne Dame": A gift to us from Deborah Zall.
I am so pleased you are beginning to tour. Your work Remembering George Sand, La Bonne Dame is so effective for college and university programs, and as I have told you as I watched the piece evolve in the past several years, for certain high schools as well. Your creativity relates to so many aspects of study, not the least are history, women’s studies, multi-disciplinary uses of the arts, literature and expression in contemporary life.
-- Francis Mason, Editor, -- Jennifer Dunning, -- Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower,
-- Francis Mason, Editor,
-- Jennifer Dunning,
-- Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower,
I have worked with Deborah Zall over some two decades, most recently when she accompanied the Martha Graham Ensemble to Cape May ... where she performed [Martha Graham's "Lamentatation", "Kaddish" by Anna Sokolow and Ruth St. Denis' "Incense".]Ms. Zall invests her performances with a layered complexity that brings her performances luminosity, delicacy, and clarity. A thorough professional, she is [a] relentless perfectionist, seeking to remain true to the movement, that is, the choreography, at the same time exploring the intent of each dance so as to arrive at her own personal interpretation.
As I watched Deborah Zall perform Martha Graham's work "Lamentation" I felt the presence of Martha Graham. Deborah Zall's performance was a true testimonial to the choreographer. Compelling, riveting; I cried.
St Denis’ Incense
It is an eerie experience to reconstruct works by Ruth St. Denis for Deborah Zall. So beautifully does she bring these dances of sixty or more years to life that it almost seems as if the great early American modern dancer has been reincarnated before one's eyes. Zall captures not only the St. Denis quality of movement but, more importantly, the spirit and personality that informed every dance Ms. Ruth created.
St. Denis [Deborah Zall dances] dons the masks of the ascetic in “Incense” . . . one perceives a body in a classical pose …in peaceful harmony and repose, in counterbalance with the round, silver plate she holds in one hand. Barefoot, she steps to each of the standing incense holders... in a sacrificial meditation walk . . . The rhythm of the walk is less important than its manners – ceremonious, reverential, ritualistic. Then, magic: she vanishes as her arms become the rippling clouds of smoke for the sacred vessel.
A quick note to thank you for your performance Thursday. It was moving, beyond words, and a wonderful birthday celebration for Papa Shawn. Your gifts in performing Miss Ruth's work leave me just repeating thank you, thank you.
In St. Denis’ “Incense”, Ms. Zall rippled her arms as smoke wafted heavenward. The gestures could have looked seductive. But the choreography and Ms. Zall’s performance made them expressions of religious rapture. Here… a dancing body a sign of the spirit in motion.
It was the most beautiful thing that ever came alive before my eyes ever! You all have achieved something that seems to me so far out of reach, high on a mountain, a shining light at the highest peak.
Like silk walking on the ground with the wind.
By viewing your class I will now look upon dancers in a new way.
Your remarks to my classes made the Graham Technique accessible to them. They opened to the movement and to the aspirations of your students and they responded with enthusiasm. ... Thank you and your students for being so generous. One of the ongoing joys of teaching here, for me, is working with the Dance Department to deepen and heighten the perceptions and sensitivities of our students.
I wanted to thank you for the invitation to see SHARDS, your adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ GLASS MENAGERIE, on January 7, 2001 at LaGuardia High School. As Associate Program Director for Arts Horizon, an arts-in-education organization, I felt your interpretation was outstanding. The production could possibly be placed in a high school or private school environment with very strong literary ties. The characters’ development and relationships translated smoothly from written text to the dance discipline with the set design and use of props being simple and clean, thus enhancing the overall production value. Not only was the transference complete, but the performance quality was riveting. This is an excellent example of how modern dance can be integrated into the language arts curriculum.
I was impressed and enlightened by what I saw in your dancing.
It was almost like sitting in a class watching a lecture on life and its obstacles. I really had a new view on doing something that I really was afraid of doing, it made me want to go out and do whatever it was that I was afraid of doing before, because I thought it took a lot of guts to do that falling step.
I was impressed with the skill, concentration, and control the dancers radiated.
Breathtaking! After leaving your class I felt inspired and very moved.