The Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, founded in 1998, is a teaching and performing organization that has continuously proved its commitment to education and remained true to its mission of “cultivating the creation of innovative art and presenting this to the public in interactive, accessible, and meaningful ways”. The company has just announced the first time release of The Lecture (See promo trailer below), third in a series of monthly Dance With Us dance films on September 26, 2021 at 12 noon ET. Dance With Us is an educational digital platform that was launched in June, 2021. The Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company is “a troupe I’d follow anywhere” (The Village Voice), a “troupe of fabulous dancers” (Back Stage) that “can’t help but smile” (The New Yorker).
Daniel Gwirtzman is a producer, director, educator, filmmaker and dancer who has twenty-six years’ experience as a New York choreographer and company director. His diverse repertory has earned praise for its humor, stylistic versatility, musicality, charisma and accessibility. “A flair for the entertaining,” says critic Elizabeth Zimmer. “Mr. Gwirtzman does know that in dance less can be more. And that’s a good thing for any choreographer to know” writes The New York Times. The New Yorker describes him as a choreographer of “high spirits and skill.” Read his full bio HERE.
The Lecture is an evening-length solo that premiered at The Ailey Citigroup Theater in 2010. The works combines the serious with the comic and the mixes the serious with the comic, the empirical with normal daily life. The score for The Lecture is of pre-recorded lectures by university professors and “marries the intellectual and the physical to explore a variety of subjects including the history of language, the science of happiness, the nature of abstraction, mathematics, human evolution, and dreams”.
“With so much attention on education during the pandemic–the lost lessons, missed time, shifting from in person to remote to hybrid—I thought the time is ripe to share choreography which puts education literally front and center,” said Daniel Gwirtzman. “With this work, I had sought to demonstrate the growth mindset that differentiates a student from a learner. The philosophy of exposing oneself to a diverse range of lectures, which together form the eclectic score of the program-length dance, are summed up well in Thomas Henry Huxley’s statement, ‘Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.’ As an extended solo which challenged me as a performer – I’m on stage the entire time, with the pressures of many costume changes! – The Lecture aspired to demonstrate this growth mindset, in which the creative aspirations and ambitions one holds stand at the pinnacle of Bloom’s taxonomy.”
Upcoming monthly Dances to Premiere on the Dance With Us Platform
October 2021: Camo Man Dances
Filmed on location in Ucross, Wyoming, Daniel’s alter ego, Camo Man, is out in the wild, blending into the landscape in dress and site-specific choreography, sticking out by performing contemporary modern dance into the untouched 20,000 private acres of cattle ranch on the Ucross Foundation’s property.
November 2021: Just in Time for the Thanksgiving Holidays: Castillo
Filmed in southern Spain, Castillo was shot on location at The Castillo de Blanca, a castle erected in the 12th century in the Spanish town of Blanca (Region of Murcia). Daniel’s daily investigation and interrogation of the site was an arduous and risky process, climbing 730 feet daily underneath the intense summer heat, while the town took siesta, and onto the two towers and risky pinnacle, without being tethered. Watch the trailer! (password: castillo)
December 2021: Just in Time for the December Holidays: The Performer
The Performer considers constructions of performance and homes in on the curvilinear separating fantasy from reality and drama from camp. The Performer presents a documentation of an over-the-top artist, a moody bon vivant with a penchant for excess and grand expression who lives large, including in the recesses of his head. The film is shot in the house Picasso gave to the surrealist artist Dora Maar, his famous muse and mistress, when he ended their relationship. Dora, significantly altered, lived and died in this maison in the Provençal village of Ménerbes, France. The film takes inspiration from her life, tackling the schism between the performance of self that one broadcasts to the public, and that which one endures privately. Watch the trailer!
“The heart of the platform is the ability to hear about dance from a range of artists, including many former dancers along with several esteemed guests, while watching the diverse range of choreography,” said Daniel. “The platform houses scores of interviews and narrated dances which will live on the platform as discrete bite-sized films. These are unique opportunities to hear the perspectives of the performers, not only learning how they became dancers and what influences in their lives have supported their pathways, but what goes through their minds as they watch choreography, and watch themselves, or others, perform. I think this kind of immersion into the world of contemporary dance allows audiences to not only gain more insight, but to refine their own opinions and ideas, and to be empowered to express these.”
“Contemporary dance has been seeping more and more into the mainstream culture for decades, enhanced with the advent of shows such as So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars. With the proliferation of dance online, increased exponentially during the pandemic, more people are arguably seeing contemporary dance than ever. And an appetite for innovative choreography is a byproduct of this exposure,” said choreographer and company director Daniel Gwirtzman. “The development of Dance With Us was in place years before the pandemic, with resources that have been created over the past two decades, an extension of programming we have offered as a company since our inception in 1998. We have long been committed to conversing about dance, empowering audiences to trust their opinions, and gain more knowledge of dance in pursuit of expanding one’s dance literacy. The ubiquity of dance on film, finding more currency in popular culture, is not going to change. This platform gives everyone, regardless of their exposure to dance, tools to use to speak about dance, encouraging them to understand their viewpoint is as valid as that of an ‘expert.’ At this moment when there is so much dance to see, this platform seeks to serve as a how-to primer.”
To learn more about Dance With Us, click HERE.
To visit the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company website, click HERE.
Written and compiled by Jeff Slayton from Michelle Tabnick Public Relations press release.
Featured image: Original Promotional Postcard from The Lecture – Courtesy of Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company