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Meet Deborah Rosen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Deborah Rosen.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I started dancing at an early age. My mother put me in tap class, and once, while at the racetrack with my father, I had been napping, woke up, and was literally tap dancing, like Shirley Temple (one of my hero’s at the time), in front of a group of strangers. My father standing proud, watching me. My all-time hero’s. My father was Jewish, from New York, and loved to salsa dance. In fact, he met my mother at a salsa club in L.A. My mother is from El Salvador. Oddly, she mostly enjoyed American music, such as Elvis and the Beatles, but salsa dancing became my parent’s thing, regular date night thing, all through their marriage. Being that salsa dancing was a staple in our Jewish home; as a young lady, my parents took me to see some of the greats, such as Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. My father taught me how to salsa dance. My forever favorite dance partner.

My father and mother were entrepreneurs and started a business, Superior Nut Company, which my family still owns and runs today. And, is the reason why. I went to college to earn a Business Degree.

I started seriously dancing in college. It initially starting with a need for physical activity. Before you know it, I was working my business courses around my dance classes. I loved being in dance class: modern, improvisation, choreography, production. Soon, I was in the college dance company, Project: Dance, at Cal Poly Pomona.

After graduation, I co-created a dance company with one of the dancers from Project: DANCE, Erin Sullivan. We choreographed short dance works and produced our own shows, mostly in art galleries in the Claremont and Pomona areas for a few years. And then went our separate ways.

I also have worked for my family’s business continuously through my dance career, even to present. I am very proud of what my family has built.

I was longing to dance in a company and eventually performed with Bridge Dance Company for a year or so.

While with Bridge Dance Company, I went to a performance choreographed by Rosanna Gamson. I fell in love with her work. I got connected to her through the Dance Resource Center. Called her. She invited me to attend a workshop she was just about to begin. I ended up performing with Rosanna Gamson / World Wide for over ten years.

While dancing with Rosanna, I met Jamie Nichols, who was a guest performer in one of Rosanna’s works, Two Views. We became friends. I would attend her dance classes (and still do). Both Rosanna and Jamie are mentors of mine. Amazing, talented, daring and caring, intelligent ladies. I feel so fortunate to have them in my life. After dancing with Rosanna, I started to choreograph and produce my own shows again. My first piece came from a place and need of healing due to the sudden and shocking passing of my father, just days before my wedding, Reflections. The sections and movement of this piece were discovered whilst still mourning this loss. The stages of grief: disbelief, denial, anger, pain (in place of bargaining), confusion for guilt, depression, and search (in place of acceptance), gave me a sense of hope …. all became parts and pieces of the movement expression.

From there, I continued to choreograph, mostly by the encouragement and invitation of Jamie Nichols, who produced Celebrate Dance at the Alex Theater, and had invited me to present work a few times. This support was an impetus, which led me to again produce my own productions and create full-length dance works from 2007 – present.

Rosanna also supported my choreographic endeavors, and my projects were under the umbrella of her company.

Through my work, I’ve discovered how vital movement is. What an important role it has played in my life. That throughout each dance project, I learned more about myself, my relationship with others, feeling connected to this beautiful world we will share. And how it’s been with me through good times and helped me process, learn, and feel in challenging times.

This realization led me to go back to school to become a Therapist. I am now an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with an emphasis in Trauma Studies. I am also in a program created by Holly Johnston, Responsive Body. An embodied process to experience the body’s inherent ability, as a response system, for transformation and healing. A dynamic approach, utilizing movement as a resource, in experiencing the multiple possibilities within each of us. And within this process, deciphering areas of ourselves and discovering a deeper understanding of self. Love and confidence in self, and how that translates in our other relationships, life work, play, and dreams.

I now work for, A Better Life / Detour Life Transitions. An organization helping parolees adjust back into society.

I find my approach through psychotherapy and movement has given me voice to what I have to offer in helping others.

I’ve been happily married, with some challenging times, but mostly very fortunate to share life with a true mensch of a man, Jerry Mundy (who is an amazing lighting designer, besides an amazing partner). And, we share the gift of a son, Noah, one of the treasures of our life.

I still choreograph and am in the process of starting a new piece, which will investigate how humans have a substantial impact on our planet.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My father’s passing, marriage troubles, lack of confidence, not being able to get pregnant.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
When I start working on a new dance piece, I create some of the movement phrases. But, I believe it is very important for the dancers involved to contribute their voice, their characteristics, their emotions in response to the theme. Therefore, as we rehearse, after teaching a movement phrase or creating one together, the dancers and I investigate and explore various options, from which we establish and stage set movement and sections of the piece, with the intent to create a story to sincerely share with our audience and each other. My work aims to capture deep emotionality and to create an environment of connecting and sharing with the audience.

My past dance pieces have examined Jewish rituals, dreams, immigration and assimilation, fantasy worlds, individual vulnerability, forgiveness, spirit, and hope.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
Being truthful, sharing, caring.

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Facebook: Deborah Rosen and Dancers @DeborahandDancers

Image Credits
Denise Leitner, Debrah Lammatre, Tim Agler

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