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Meet the Directors


DEBORAH ABEL has choreographed and danced in her own works since 1987. Her work has been presented across the Northeast US, as well as in India and Mexico. In 2019 she was awarded the USArtist International grant from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation to tour her most recent work, The Wild Divine, through three cities in Mexico.  On this tour the company had the premier spot as closing performance of the 39th Lila Lopez International Contemporary Dance Festival in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, performing for a full house of 1400 in the incredible Teatro de la Paz.


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.

Abel's 2012 work, Calling to You, toured three cities in India in December of that year. The tour was sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations 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. In 2019 she offered her Bhakti Modern master class at the 39th Lila Lopez International Contemporary Dance Festival, and in Mexico City. Abel has toured her Bhakti Modern Master Class throughout Southern India where she taught at Kalakshetra, a conservatory of Music and Dance, University of Hyderabad, and Auorville. She is also currently offering her master classes in universities and colleges in the US.

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.

LEE PERLMAN has been performing and composing music for more than 40 years. He began writing original scores for the Deborah Abel Dance Company in 1991, and 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.


In his day job, Perlman teaches philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Perlman is also co-director of The Educational Justice Institute (TEJI) at MIT, a transformative learning experience for incarcerated individuals and university students. He received his BA from St. John’s College in Maryland. He completed an MA in political philosophy at Georgetown University and earned his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has taught at Brown University, Harvard University, Swarthmore College, Phillips Academy Andover, and for the past 23 years at MIT.


Perlman’s keystone course, “The Philosophy of Love,” uses classic works in literature and philosophy to lead students on a very personal exploration of the nature of love. In addition to teaching at MIT, Perlman has presented the course at a private high school and as part of a university degree program within the Massachusetts state prison system. All of his musical contributions to the Deborah Abel Dance Company have been part of his life-long mission to understand and express the essence of love and deep spiritual longing.


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